Netherlands, UNFPA sign Shs 98bn partnership to support for sexual reproductive health program

The Embassy of Netherlands in Uganda and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today signed a partnership agreement for a four year programme to advance Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights [SHRH] IN West Nile and Acholi Sub-Regions in Uganda.

Funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kampala, the € 24 million (Shs 98 billion) program will support interventions to address five major SRHR issues namely, high maternal mortality, high unmet need for family planning,  high rates of teenage pregnancy and child marriages, high occurrence of Gender-Based violence (GBV) as well as inequalities in access to sexual and reproductive health services for vulnerable groups such as adolescents, revenges and persons with disabilities.

UNFPA will implement this programme in close collaboration with its strategic government partners such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the National Population Council, as well as through district local government and non-governmental/community based organisations.

It will be implemented in the districts of Zombo, Nebbi, Maracha, Pakwach, Amuru, Agago, Arua, Yumbe, Koboko, Adjumani, Moyo and Lamwo.

Uganda performs poorly against key sexual reproductive health and rights indicators. According to 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey, teenage pregnancy has stagnated at 25 percent for the last decade, contributing to 26 percent of maternal deaths.

“Such poor indicators jeopardize Uganda’s opportunity to harness the Demographic dividend and to achieve its vision of becoming an upper middle income country by 2040,” said Alain Sibenaler, UNFPA Representative.

“Delivering an integrated package of services and rights to ensure zero unmet need for family planning, zero metanal deaths and zero tolerance of GBV and harmful practices is the core of our work, operationalizing UNFPA’s mandate to carry out the ICPD programme of Action, as means to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Uganda, Henk Jan Bakker, said sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights s one the pillars of Dutch Development Cooperation.

“Through this programme the Dutch Government seeks to further contribute to the Government Uganda’s efforts to decrease maternal mortality, address unmet need for family planning, reduce gender based violence and promote gender equality, reduce teenage pregnancies and early marriages. And ultimately contribute to your country’s opportunity to harness the demographic evident”, said Ambassador Bakker.

The programme targets to reach approximate 2.8milliom people with SRHR information and services specifically targeting adolescents and young people, women of reproductive age (15-49), and men including refugees, GBV survivors and persons with disability.

The Director General of the National Population Council, Dr Jotham Musinguzi, applauded the Government of Netherlands for this support towards the realisation of Uganda’s Development priorities.

“This four-year funding will contribute to the implementation of the Roadmap to Harness the Demographic Dividend in Uganda; support the Strategies in Ugandan’s National Development Plan (NDP) III vision of 2040 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 on ending poverty, 3 on good health and wellbeing, 5 on gender equality, 10 on reduced inequalities and 16 on peace justice and strong institutions,” said Dr Musinguzi.

Ultimately the programme was strengthened and intuitional mechanisms that integrate population dynamics into Uganda’s larger development agenda, Dr  Musinguzi added