KAMPALA – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have asked the government to invest in both modern contraception and maternal and newborn health care among adolescents in Uganda to improve health outcomes.
“Young people constitute the majority of Uganda’s population are the productive age group and investing in reproductive health will go a long way to reduce deaths from maternally related illnesses,” Mr. Asuman Bakshi, a public health practitioner, said.
While making a presentation during a media engagement on Tuesday, March 19, at Hotel Africana, Mr. Bakshi said Uganda needs to increase funding both modern contraception and maternal and newborn health care among adolescents.
He noted that in the 2016-17 budget for family planning was UGX1.8 billion but when you look at it, it doesn’t meet the reproductive needs of young people, women and how best they can access quality services.
The report presented by the International Communications Manager/Guttmacher, Ms. Sophia Sadinsky indicated that if the need for modern contraception among adolescents in Uganda were satisfied, unintended pregnancies would drop by 72%, from 214,000 per year to 60,000 per year.
“Increasing use of modern contraceptives by adolescents who want to avoid pregnancy and providing all pregnant adolescent women and their newborns with the recommended levels of maternal and newborn health care would save lives and improve the health of adolescents in Uganda,” She said.
In 2017, the Ugandan government committed to improving access to contraception for adolescents by implementing the National Adolescents Health Policy and the National Sexuality Education Framework.
However, increased investment is essential to ensure that adolescents have access to the age-appropriate information and services they need to determine whether and when to become pregnant.
“Of the 2.5m women aged 15-19 in Uganda in 2018, 26% (648,000) have a need for contraceptive methods; that is, they are married, or are unmarried and sexually active, and do not want a child for at least two years. Among these 648,000 adolescent women, 39% (253,000) are using modern contraceptives.
The most common method among modern contraceptive users is male condoms (50%), followed by injectables (39%),” Ms. Sadinsky noted.