Many girls say it is bad to use contraceptives if you have not given birth yet. This kind of information is given to them by trusted family members and peers, including parents. Such beliefs affect attitude and act as a barrier for youth to make informed reproductive health choices, as well as proper and consistent use of family planning.
The debate in Uganda about young people using contraceptives is diverse. For example, at what age should a young person access family planning? Much as boys are usually encouraged to use condoms, it is the contrary for girls, yet the consequences such as pregnancy – that disrupt education and associated social challenges – affect girls more.
There is an increasing trend of teenage pregnancy and this contributes to maternal deaths in the country. In July, “End Teenage Campaign” was launched by the Ministry of Health. At the launch, the State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Ms Sarah Opendi, noted that it is common for girls as young as 12 years to engage in unprotected sex and it is alarming that only 11 per cent of the adolescents access family planning services.
As we celebrate the World Contraception Day today under the global theme: “It’s Your Life, It’s Your Future Know Your Options”, we all have a role to play as parents, guardians, peers, opinion leaders and the society at large. Let us support young people to access sexual reproductive health services, including family planning so that they can live healthier lives.
Let’s provide information and support their decisions. The government should establish more youth-friendly service centres at health facilities so that young people can access services.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor