Uganda holds 2nd National Family Planning Conference
Kampala – 26/09/2017 - The Ministry of Health in collaboration with UNFPA and other Development Partners hosted the 2nd National Family Planning Conference under the theme “Universal Access to Family Planning for Healthier and Empowered Communities towards Social and Economic Development” to enable stakeholders share progress on achievements and renew efforts towards implementation of the Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (FP-CIP) 2015-2020, align interventions to the International FP 2020 commitments and positioning Family Planning as a tool for national development, social transformation and attainment of vision 2040.
Speaking during the second National Family Planning Conference, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng underscored the Government’s commitment to scaling up family planning programs to create demand, especially in hard to reach areas. “We shall use Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) to help reach out to those that are not accessing services due to geographical, economic and social barriers” Aceng said.
“His Excellency, the President of Uganda has demonstrated political and financial commitment towards accelerated efforts to increasing access to family planning services.” Dr. Aceng noted.
The Health sector has made significant progress in regards to Family Planning and reducing maternal, newborn, infant and child deaths and ill suffering. With innovative interventions, between 2011 and 2016, Uganda documented increased use of modern contraceptives from 26% in 2011 to 35% in 2016 and a reduced Maternal Mortality Ratio from 438 to 336 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
The 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS), indicates that more than four in 10 births are unplanned. This is partly attributed to a high unmet access family planning gap, in which three in every 10 women do not access family planning. “The Ministry of Health plans to increase the accessibility of modern contraceptives up to 50% and reduce the unmet need for contraceptives in our vision 2020 to 10% from the current 35%,” Dr. Aceng said. This would in turn save the lives of more than 8,900 mothers and 101,000 children and avert more than 4.3 million unintended pregnancies.
“However, Teenage Pregnancy rate increased from 24% to 25% and the right to consent, choice and use of modern methods of family planning among adolescents needs to be enhanced within the public and the private health care settings.” Dr. Aceng noted.
Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng urged the youth to take charge in reducing teenage pregnancies which contributes to the high Maternal Mortality in Uganda. “I charge youth to talk about reducing Teenage Pregnancies and this should start with yourselves” she urged.
The National Family Planning conference comes at a time when Government of Uganda renewed its commitments at the London Family Planning Summit held on July 11, 2017. These commitments are;
The Government of Uganda revised its targets to reduce unmet need for family planning to 10 percent and increase the modern contraceptive prevalence rate among all women to 50 percent by 2020.
Leveraging annually $US 20 million from its development partners, the domestic and international private sectors to bridge the funding gap for executing its Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan.
Allocating $US 5 million annually for procurement and distribution of reproductive health/family planning supplies and commodities to the last mile.
Allocating annually at least 10% of the RMNCAH resources for adolescent-friendly family planning services.
Implementing a robust social behavior change and communication strategy to increase demand and use of family planning services.
Expanding the cadres of skilled workforce to provide quality family planning services and methods, including long acting and reversible, and permanent contraceptives.
The Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Alain Sibenalier noted that access to voluntary family planning is a human right. “Family Planning is one of the most critically important investments that we could make in health, in women’s rights and in the life trajectories of young people,” Sibenaler said.
He noted that with access to appropriate information and services, young people can truly plan for schooling, work and childbearing on their terms.
“When women access contraceptives they become empowered to have fewer children and start families later in life, giving them an opportunity to complete school, earn a better living and escape the trap of poverty,” Sibenaler said.
According to UNFPA, Family planning is the information, means and methods that allow individuals to decide if and when to have children. This includes a wide range of contraceptives – including pills, implants, intrauterine devices, surgical procedures that limit fertility, and barrier methods such as condoms – as well as non-invasive methods such as the calendar method and abstinence. Family planning also includes information about how to become pregnant when it is desirable, as well as treatment of infertility.
The conference was attended by various stakeholders including Development Partners, Members of Parliament, LCV chairpersons, District Health Officers and other.