About 43% of births in the country are unplanned for
Over 70% of women are accessing family planning services without the consent of their husbands, a study has revealed.
The study carried out in the districts of Kamuli and Mbarara showed that women prefer not to inform their husbands saying that some of the cultural values do not allow them to stop having children.
The study was done by the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in partnership with Ibis Reproductive Health organisation, a US based organisation.
Speaking while releasing the findings during the Contraceptive Choice Project Stakeholders Meeting at the Protea Hotel in Kampala, Eleavor Turyakira, said that in the rural communities where they asked women, most of them said that they had the pills in hiding.
She said that women said after taking on the family planning methods, they deny their husbands sex pretending that they are sick adding that this has caused domestic violence in homes.
The meeting organised by HEPS - Uganda Coalition for Health Promotion and Social development, was addressing low stocks of contraceptive in health facilities. Participants at the meeting who were drawn from Kamuli, Mbarara and Kampala said that some of the family planning services are available at the health facilities but the communities lack knowledge of their existence.
The study done in the months of May to July, with the main focus on middle age women shared that professional women who included bankers, teachers among others accessed family planning but can change places where they access family planning unlike the rural women who stick to one place and their husbands would easily notice.
According to 2011 statistics on unmet family planning needs stand at 34% and a low contraceptive prevalence rate of 30% which contributes to Uganda's high fertility rate of 6.2 children. About 43% of births in the country are unplanned for.
The family planning focal person in the ministry of health, Placid Mihayo, said that is some women are willing to space their children without using any method but it is impossible for them because through natural methods they can become pregnant.
Mihayo said that with the help of cultural leaders, political and local community leaders, family planning can be promoted in their communities adding that there are several myths on family planning which need to be demystified.
He said that there are methods like breastfeeding, moon beads among others which can be used but warned that if they are not well used, they cannot work.
On the issue of contraceptive stocks which the participants raised, Mihayo said that the ministry is to carry out training for health workers to assist women access other family planning methods.