Wednesday February 15 2017

It is wrong to give contraceptives to children

By Rhoda N. Kalema

Government plots family planning for pupils - Health Ministry to roll out contraceptive use to children aged 10 years and above” read a headline in Daily Monitor February 9. It is very sad.

And also on the top cover of the same paper, the ministry confidently showed the public its book: “National Policy on Sexual and Reproductive Health.” Yes, I share the shock and anger with many patriotic Ugandans, religious leaders, parents and teachers who cared to tell government that its plan is most unwise, (read stupid). I thank the Mufti Sheikh Shaban Mubajje and Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga for condemning the proposal ( Daily Monitor February 10).

The ministry also stated, “As a Ministry, we do not intend to introduce contraceptives for the girl-child in schools at all” (Daily Monitor February, 10), thank you indeed Ministry of Education.

First of all, I wish to tell the government that it does not own the people of this country, it is only expected as their constitutional obligation to lead and serve them. Ugandans are not ‘guinea pigs’ for experiment. Ugandans are God’s precious creation. “They are born by His purpose and for His purpose” as written by Rick Warren in his book “The Purpose Driven Life”.

I learnt in my Social Studies course at Edinburgh University in 1957 that there are five natural stages of human development; Infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. The infant, the child and the adolescent are under their family and school for nurturing, guidance and teaching, as body, mind and intellect develop from year to year. He/she will eventually be equipped for a life of responsibility and productivity in every way to take their place in society, as an adult.

In the Constitution, under Article 34: Sec. 4 “Children are entitled to be protected from social or economic exploitation… or interference with their education or anything harmful to their health, or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” Sec. 5 “… Children shall be persons under the age of 16 years.”

Article 59 (1) “A citizen of 18 years or above has a right to vote.” Considering the constitutional mandate, the Ministry of Health is, therefore, openly violating the Constitution and children’s rights. And consequently, stressing sexual awareness for the girl-child will defeat the aims and programmes of education and excellence for the same girl-child. Can our country afford this?

Let me share two great Bible texts. Jesus tolerated many difficult situations of pain and shame upon Himself, as many know. However, we read that He failed to tolerate two main instances:
The first is the tarnishing of His Father’s Temple when He found it being used as a market place (read Luke 19:46)

The second is about leading a child to sin: Mathew 18:6 “… but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea”. There is no more emphasis needed here.

If the ministry of Health is concerned about the future of our nation let it put funds into training of counsellors. They will talk to schools and parents together at teacher-parent meetings and also to local leaders. This should bring effective awareness, I am sure.

If the ministry of Health’s plan were to be implemented, for sure it will cause excessive defilement of young girls and adolescents. Then there would be no future for our motherland.

Finally, I wish for a big debate on this issue. Many debates should be planned countrywide if possible to arrest this very big danger.