Tuesday July 29 2014

Museveni relaxes stand on family planning

By Agatha Ayebazibwe


President Musevini yesterday endorsed family planning in Uganda, saying while he supports a bigger population for economic development, a poor quality population will not transform the country.

Speaking at the opening of the first National Family Planning conference in Uganda, the President told delegates that if combined with economic growth and transformation, family planning will improve the lives of women and children but also save families and countries expenditure too many dependents.

“Family planning is good for the mother so that her health is not ruined by having too many children, parents have children they can afford to look after so that they don’t grow like wild plants. The family would spend less on children and their needs. In turn, they would save and make wealth,” Mr Museveni said.

However, he said family planning alone would not improve the quality of the population, calling for a combination of other strategies. “I am glad that views on population are beginning to converge because for a long time. There has been confusion on population and economic transformation. Population per say is not the biggest problem, but rather the lack of economic growth, poor quality education, health among others,” Mr Museveni said.

Other issues
The three-day conference, which brings together health experts and development partners in the health sector, is aimed at increasing access to family planning services in the country following the President’s commitment at the 2012 London Family planning meet.

The participants will also delegate on increasing funding for family planning products as well as strategies to reduce the unmet need for family planning which stands at 34 per cent and also increase family planning prevalence in Uganda from the current 26.7 per cent.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, the Minister for Primary Healthcare, Ms Sarah Opendi, said low prevalence of family planning services and high unmet needs rank high among the causes of maternal deaths.

“From the maternal deaths audits we have carried out, majority of these deaths are because women are having too many children, too frequently while others are due to unwanted pregnancies which result into abortions most of which are unsafe,” Ms Opendi said.