By Aldon Walukamba G.
Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) is pushing for more investment in family planning and education to reduce sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) challenges in Uganda.
While delivering the 2021 Alliance Week Address in the Kasese district, Jackson Chekweko, RHU Executive Director, said that Uganda has 77% young people, with at least 40% girls, but 25% of the girls aged 14 to 19 get pregnant.
Chekweko says that young people in Uganda should be protected from contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), pregnancies, or impregnating others with the help of free family planning access and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) services.
This can be achieved partly by increasing the family planning commodities budget allocated to the National Medical Stores (NMS). The 2021/2022 budget for NMS saw an increase of UGX 600.31 from UGX 420.31 billion in 2020/2021. However, only 20 billion shillings are allocated for purchasing family planning commodities. This accounts for a mere 3.332% of the total budget.
The Ministry of Health cost implementation plan two (CIP2) for 20/21/ to 24/25, pits the total demand for family planning commodities at 67%, but only 37% of women in Uganda access family planning products.
Charles Owekmeno, the National Coordinator of SRHR Alliance, believes that as the push for an increase in the family planning commodities budget allocation ensues, youths, especially girls, should be kept in school.
The most strategic investment in Uganda is to keep children in school to avoid the SRHR challenges in Uganda today.” “These include teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, gender-based violence, and school dropouts, Owekmeno said.
The 2021 Alliance Week happened during the 16 Days of Activism for SRHR and family planning campaigns in Uganda. It was organized in the Kasese district by the RHU—Right Here, Right Now-2 (RHRH–2) project with its seven coalition members: Hope Mbale, CEHURD, Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU), SMUG, SRHR Alliance, RHU, and UNYPA. The other Alliance Week 2021 consortium members under the SRHR Alliance in the Kasese district include Restless Development, NAFOPHANU, FLEP, and Straight Talk Uganda. The RHU
The RHRN-2 project, which targets young people aged 10 to 24, is funded by Rutgers International and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).