It is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the access to sexual and reproductive health services, family planning inclusive.
This, according to various reports, has brought about an increase in reproductive health complications including unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, Sexually Transmitted Diseases like Syphilis, Candida, Gonorrhoea and even HIV/AIDS.
In the Uganda Family Planning Annual Progress Report of 2018-2019, it was estimated that 3,068,000 women were using a modern method of contraception in Uganda and as such, 1,157,000 unintended pregnancies were prevented and 255,000 unsafe abortions averted.
Despite a number of women taking on family planning, Uganda’s total fertility, maternal mortality, and teenage pregnancy rates remain among the highest globally.
To counter this, the ‘Uganda Family Planning 2020’ has committed efforts to scale up the use of modern family planning methods, to ensure that every Ugandan woman can choose when and how many children to have.
In 2017, UFP revised its original commitment of 2012 to reduce the unmet need among adolescents from 30.4% in 2016 to 25% in 2021.
Apart from renovating health centres in remote areas, the government has provided family planning services and also introduced a method mix of services; as well as educated people about permanent methods like vasectomy and tubal ligation.
It should be noted that family planning not only improves maternal and child health and survival, but also increases the economic well-being of individuals, families, communities, and nations as well as empowers women while promoting human rights for all citizens, according to reproductive health experts.
Strong national family planning programmes also foster environmental sustainability as stated in the Uganda Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan 2015-2020.
The Costed Implementation Plan also indicates that rapid population growth is fuelled by the high fertility rate in Uganda. High fertility is a result of sex preference, early marriage, high school drop-out rates for girls, and unintended pregnancies as a result of low contraceptive use.
Ministry of health together with its various partners have employed efforts in sensitizing masses about family planning and providing adolescents and other people with the services.
Reach a Hand Uganda, through the ‘I Know’ campaign embarked on sensitization activities within communities, partnering with health service providers to bring Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and services such as HIV testing and counselling closer to people.