By Henry Sekanjako & Kembabazi Sharon
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has called upon women to embrace family planning to curb the increasing population levels in the country.
According to Kadaga, the increasing population levels in the country are hindering development since majority of the population is unemployed.
“We are experiencing very high and unprecedented population growth rates. The fertility rate for a Ugandan woman is 6 to 7 children; this coupled with high mortality rates of both maternal and child deaths, Sub Saharan Africa is grappling with high unemployment rates and very young dependent population,” said Kadaga.
Kadaga made the remarks Wednesday while addressing African MPs at the ongoing Asian and African parliamentarian’s capacity development on integrations of political issues into national development frameworks at Lake Victoria Serena resort in Lweza.
She noted that the increasing population levels in a country like Uganda where majority of the people are youth, was creating a lot of dependency as a result of unemployment.
“We should encourage our people especially women in rural areas to embrace family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies, it is through this program that we can control our population,” she added.
The team leader population and development United Nations population fund (UNFPA) Florence Mpabulungi said a total of 215 million women worldwide were not able to access modern forms of contraceptives to control unwanted pregnancies.
“Out of these 34% of Ugandan women cannot access family planning contraceptives, yet they would want to space their children,” said Mpabulungi.
Mpabulungi warned that it would be hard for Uganda to attain Vision 2040 if unemployment and skills development among the youth is not addressed.
Ram Parkash, the MP from Indian parliament asked lawmakers to consider counseling mothers in their constituencies on how to use family planning as the best formula to work on population growth to reduce on food scarcity, water, sanitation and poverty.
“Resolving population issues are a necessary condition for sustainable development, which of course includes food security, the issue of population however is not something that can be forced on people,” added Emiko Takagai, the MP Japan.
The three-day conference was attended by Burundian Speaker of Parliament Gabriel Ntisezerana among MPs from Asia and Africa.