By Eddie Ssejjoba
THE United States Agency for Development (USAID) has commended the leadership in Uganda for achieving and surpassing its commitment to increase the level of annual government funding for family planning supplies from three million to five million dollars.
The USAID mission director, Leslie Reed said Uganda had made a good accomplishment despite a tough fiscal environment. She however said that one third of women in Uganda wish to space or limit their children but are not currently using family planning methods.
She pointed out that without addressing rapid population growth and increasing access to voluntary family planning, Uganda’s development and economic gains remain at risk in the future.
Reed was on Thursday addressing legislators from over 10 countries attending the Network of African Parliamentary Committees of Health (NEAPACOH) conference at Speke Hotel in Munyonyo.
The theme of the conference is; Achieving Family Planning 2020 goals for enhanced demographic dividend in Africa in the post 2015 sustainable development agenda’.
The minister of state for finance and economic planning, Matia Kasaija who opened the conference said it was a shame to all legislators from their respective countries that incidents of women dying while giving birth were still high.
“It is a shame on us all MPs that one dies in the process of bringing life. Legislators should work with their governments, private sector and other stakeholders to ensure no life is lost in the process of bringing life,” he said.
The state minister for primary healthcare, Sarah Opendi joins other women parliamentarians from Ghana, Malawi, Ethiopia and Uganda for a group photo at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo where the she opened a two-day meeting on family planning. Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba
He told MPs that Uganda had increased investment in provision of family planning services to let women space children voluntarily but said the country was facing challenges due to rampant incidents of early pregnancies that lead to high maternal deaths.
Others include poor access to family planning services, lack of skills and appropriate education to the young population and others.
He said legislators should help mothers to access family planning services and look at the efforts from an economic point of view.
“A woman who produces children every year cannot engage in productive economic activity and the family will not have enough resources to look after the many children, which will lead to poverty and poor health,” he said.
Isingiro County South MP, Alex Byarugaba told the conference that a compromise should be sought to bring religion on board, saying many religions were still against family planning services.
“I am a Catholic but when I brought the issue of family planning in my Church in the constituency, the priest attacked me saying I did not want people to produce children fearing they will unseat me from parliament,” he said.
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Uganda applauded for increased funding to family planning provision