THE Second Vice-President Seif Ali Iddi has said every adult citizen has a role to play in the promotion of family planning and the rights of children as per religious teachings, international human rights instruments and nation laws.
"Our children need protection, love and care. They have a right to live, to education and enjoy life," he said at his office during a meeting with Muslim scholars who were in the country to talk about the importance of family planning in line with Islamic teachings.
Mr Iddi said Islam and other denominations accepted family planning through different ways such as breastfeeding for at least two years consecutively for infants to grow.
The Muslim scholars led by Sheikh Saleh Abbas Goma from the Al-Azhar University in Egypt have been in the country after being invited by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to help send a message to the Muslim community that family planning is acceptable.
For over two decades Zanzibar has been campaigning for family planning as one of the measures to eradicate poverty and minimise maternal and child mortality.
It is estimated that on average each family in Zanzibar has between 5 and 6.5 children.
Despite the campaign, which involves public lectures, workshops and engagement of female parents and religious leaders, family planning acceptance among women is below 14 per cent, as the government, in collaboration with development partners, revives the campaign.
Men and Women in the country, particularly in rural areas, still believe that family planning is unacceptable in Islam and leads to both male and female infertility.
Sheikh Goma said at the meeting that Islam had clear guidelines on family planning and "also the Holy Qur’an has verses that teach birth control for a healthy family.
Let us follow the Islamic teachings to avoid health complications caused by unsafe child delivery."