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UK earmarks sh182b for family planning

By Taddeo Bwambale

Added 27th September 2017 01:43 PM

The commitment was made on Tuesday at the close of a two-day National Family Planning Conference held in London, to mark World Contraception Day.

UK earmarks sh182b for family planning

Experts argue that early child-bearing lead to a longer period of exposure of women to reproductive risks

The commitment was made on Tuesday at the close of a two-day National Family Planning Conference held in London, to mark World Contraception Day.

The UK government has announced a new sh182b (£38m) funding package for family planning initiatives in Uganda.

The commitment was made on Tuesday at the close of a two-day National Family Planning Conference held in London, to mark World Contraception Day.

The funding is meant to support the implementation of the Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan, a government initiative to accelerate the uptake of contraception.

Under the programme, at least 380,000 more women will have access to modern family planning methods to reducing the negative health, social and economic consequences of high fertility rates.

The Head of the UK's Department for International Development, Jennie Barugh, said support for family planning was critical for Uganda's future economic prosperity.

"The recent reduction in Uganda's total fertility rate masks a serious lack of progress towards reducing the teenage pregnancy rate.  Many of these young girls die in childbirth and many of those who survive see an early end to their own education and their life chances limited," she stated, according to a release from the British High Commission in Kampala. 

About one in three married women of reproductive age reported have no access to family planning services, according to the 2011 Uganda National Demographic and Health Survey.

According to the survey, there is a higher unmet need for family planning in rural areas compared to urban areas (37% and 23%), respectively.

Up to 60% of married women seeking family planning services want to space their next birth, while 40% don't want to have any more children, although the services are not often readily available.

Health minister, Dr Ruth Aceng, at the Family Planning summit in London in July said government would increase access to family planning services to help bring down the high rate of teenage pregnancies.

She noted that taming teenage pregnancies was critical in reducing the number of unsafe abortions and the ensuing maternal mortality, and helping young people to reach their full potential.

Uganda, with a large youthful population, has a high but declining population growth rate at 3% per year. Although fertility rate has declined, experts still find it high at 5.7 births per woman in 2015.

Experts argue that early child-bearing lead to a longer period of exposure of women to reproductive risks, which in turn lead to high cumulative fertility levels.

The UK government, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and other partners, says it has invested up to £30million (sh144b) over the past five years to scale up access to quality family planning services.

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