UNFPA wants increased funding for family planning programs

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has asked the government to increase its efforts in meeting the unmet family planning needs in the country.

The call comes one year to Uganda’s 2020 goal of providing universal family planning and decreasing the unmet family planning need from 40 percent to 10 percent.

The call was made on Wednesday during a pre- youth conference ahead of the Family Planning Conference that is scheduled to take place from the 19th to 20th at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

According to the UNFPA, government needs to plan for its people by passing policies that advocate for modern family planning methods.

Alain Sibenaler, UNFPA Country Representative says more effort is needed in terms of policy and acceptance of Uganda wants to meet their 2020 goal.

“More effort needs to be done especially in terms of acceptance. We strongly believe that one of the reasons the unmet need is high is the attitude surrounding family planning that is not right and prevents women and girls to have access to family planning,” Sibenaler said.

He said that Uganda needs to make modern family planning methods accessible to everyone who needs to use them.

“Uganda has to plan for its population. And this means making sure people have children they can plan for. This can easily be done by promoting modern family planning methods because they have proven to be effective.,” said Sibenaler.

Amanda Joan Banura, the founder of the Uganda Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health says that Government needs to pass policies that promote family planning such as the National Policy on Adolescents and School Health Policy to address the needs of family planning.

“We still have a long way to go. 2020 is around the corner. We are making baby steps that need to translate into more. Our policy environment is devastating. We have policies that would have helped create demand for family planning services but they have been shelved,” Banura said.

Banura added that access to information among teenagers and adolescents is low which leaves many sexually active learners unprotected.

“Young people start engaging in sexual activity as early as primary 5 or 6. But since talk of contraceptives in schools is forbidden, we see so many learners living school when it would be avoided if they knew what kind of protection they need,” Banura said.

According to the health ministry, the use of modern contraceptives has been increased to 30 percent. This leaves the country with a 20 percent shortfall.

Mercy Asio, a youth leader from Kumi District says that the biggest challenge where family planning is concerned are the myths associated with it.

“People know about family planning but they are also scared of the beliefs that surround modern methods. Some women think using family planning before you get pregnant can lead to the born child having high sexual appetite,” said Asio.