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President warns against Tanzania’s baby boom

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has expressed concern over the high birth rate in the East African country and urged citizens to take up birth control measures.

It is a major reversal from the position of her predecessor, the late John Magufuli, who openly encouraged women not to use contraceptives.

President Samia confronted the country’s baby boom over the weekend while visiting the western region of Geita.

”Yesterday I was told in Buselesele ward in Geita region, one (health) centre produces 1,000 children a month

“Now how many classes will be needed after three years? What health centres how many will be needed to serve all these children? How many tonnes of food will be needed? Let’s reduce the speed and have control of this,” urged the president.

In 2018, while at a rally in the west of Tanzania, former President Magufuli described those who use contraceptives as lazy.

And in 2016, after the launch of free primary and secondary education in the country, he said: “Women can throw away their contraceptives. Education is now free.”

The World Bank estimates Tanzania’s fertility rate at 4.8 births per woman as of 2020. The high birth rate was attributed to early marriages and low contraceptive use.

Tanzania has a population of around 60 million people, with 49% of them living on less than $2 (£1.50) a day.

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