Thursday July 11 2013

Health workers ‘ignoring family planning’

By Stephen Otage & Alexandrina Nakanwagi


Health workers are not advising patients or recommending contraceptives, a new study about the public perceptions regarding their use has shown. As a result, people who need contraceptives have little information regarding their use while some of their side effects have been used to decampaign their use.

Speaking at the dissemination of the findings yesterday, Mr Jon Cooper, the Marie Stopes Uganda country director, said although there was a growing number of sexually active people requesting for the services, health workers in government facilities are not bothered to requisition for them from the National Medical Stores. (NMS).

Mr Cooper said in cases where the supplies are available, health workers do not know their use or how to administer them. He said although the government injected Shs25 billion in the just read Budget into the purchase of contraceptives, their uptake remains very low because it was only organisations involved in reproductive health promotion activities.

The Marie Stopes official said the organisations have been actively involved in requisitioning for the supplies because they know where they are required. Mr Cooper said they register more than 1,000 new clients daily without any input from the health workers.

When asked to comment on the development, Ms Zainabu Akol, the principal medical officer at the Ministry of Health, said the drugs were failing to find their way to communities that need them.

“The government and donors mobilised substantial money to buy the drugs, but now we need to find ways of ensuring that they reach the intended communities because they can end up expiring in the stores,” she said.

There has been a public outcry for government to increase spending on reproductive health services. Asked what they are doing with the supplies, Mr Dan Kimosho, the NMS spokesperson, said they distribute the drugs on request.