Gov’t, Donors Strengthen Measures To Increase Up-Take Of Family Planning
The United States Agency for International Development Uganda Family Planning Activity is a five year initiative funded by the government of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support Government of Uganda to increase adoption of positive reproductive health behaviors among Ugandan women, men and young people and contribute to long term demographic shifts in Uganda’s modern contraceptive prevalence rate and fertility rate in the eleven districts of Uganda by 2025.
In the Albertine region, this program supports 4 districts of Kibaale, Kiryandongo, Buliisa and Kyankwanzi.
According to the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health survey, adolescent pregnancy prevalence in the Bunyoro Sub region was at 26% compared to the national figure of 25% thus calling for serious interventions to save teenage pregnancies and teenage mothers.
The survey also indicated that despite the high fertility rate in the region, there has been low uptake of family planning as a result of low sensitization and lack of access to the family planning services.
Herbert Mugumya, the Executive Director Uganda Family Planning Activity, says their concern is to see that Ugandans embrace family planning in their reproductive health and also empower Health centers with capacities to ensure communities take up family planning methods in order to have children by choice not by chance.
Mugumya said that country wide uptake of family planning methods is about 50% but this varies with districts and that fertility rate in the districts of Kibaale, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Bundibugyo and Kiryandongo is very high.
“The average number of children is at 5.4 children per family but in these districts, it is a different case because you find a woman giving birth to more than 8 children. This is an indicator that fertility rate is very high,” Mugumya narrated.
Mugumya said this during an engagement meeting with the district officials about the uptake and implementation of family planning in Kibaale district on Wednesday.
Robinah Ssempebwa, the team leader from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Uganda said that donor funding changes with priorities time and again and asked the districts implementing family planning and reproductive activities to ensure commitment in financial accountabilities among others for sustainability of such projects.
“What you must know is that funding from donors can change with priorities and cannot be there all the time. We have the resources now but we don’t know how much we are going to have next year. So the gesture by the district to have some family planning financial commitment in their development plans is a very good gesture which I think all the government partners look forward to see,” Ssempebwa said.
Ssempebwa further said that they cannot implement family planning at 100% if the couples and sexually active partners don’t embrace the program and asked the district health team to engage communities on reproductive health participation as part of community system strengthening.
“I implore the stakeholders in this program to engage actively the communities in order to help them understand why they should take up family planning in order to have planned for children,” Ssempebwa, added.
Habib Abubakar, the Kibaale district deputy Chief Administrative Officer said that in most cases high performing districts are always categorized with non performing districts and this affects their timely funding from both donors and government.
Abubakar asked funders to always take the best performing districts as the priority while allocating funds rather than categorizing with the non-performers.
“We would be doing better than we are doing now but due financial constraints and especially brought about by non-performers has in most cases limited our performance. We there ask funders to always consider first the best performers while allocating funds,” Abubakar said.
Deborah Mbabazi, the former Resident District Commissioner Kibaale applauded USAID Uganda Family Planning Activity for ensuring better service delivery in the district through reproductive health services.
Mugarama Health Centre 3 is one of the high volume sites being supported under the family planning activity program to innovatively implement strategies to improve family planning uptake.
Health officers at this facility said uptake of family planning measures by mothers in the last two years has relatively increased and especially after the intervention of USAID and Ministry of Health.
Lucky Pasika, the medical clinical officer at Mugarama Health Centre 3 however decried of long distances health workers face during the implementation administering of family planning in the villages.
“We request if there can be some means of transport to our health workers, like motorcycles and others so as to ease the work for us. Otherwise we are always limited by transport means to reach our mothers in the vilages,” Pasika said.
The USAID Uganda family planning Activity program has supported Kibaale district since 2020 and the program has intensified its interventions including working with community structures, men groups, women groups and civil society organizations to create demand for family planning services, to improve uptake of family planning through dialogue and health education.
The engagement meeting was held at Kibaale district headquarters boardroom and was attended among others by the district Chairperson, technical staff and heads of the health department.