25 September 2009

Uganda: Women Urged On Birth Control

Almost half of Uganda's one million births that occur every year are unwanted and could be averted if women effectively took up family planning services, health experts say.

The experts argue that between 2005 and 2015, the use of family planning can help avert up to 4.6 million unintended pregnancies that could have occurred in this period.

Dr Peter Ibembe, the national programme manager for Reproductive Health Uganda, told journalists at a health training workshop on Wednesday that most of the unwanted or unintended pregnancies are as a result of the high unmet need for contraceptives. Currently the national unmet need for family planning stands at 42 per cent. "From 2005 to 2015, if the unmet need for family planning was met, we would have 4.6 million fewer unwanted pregnancies and 1.2 million fewer abortions," Dr Ibembe said.

He explained that most of the unintended pregnancies occur as a result of incorrect use or failure of contraceptives. "Reducing the unmet need for family planning could help reduce unintended pregnancies which lead to abortions and unwanted births," Dr Ibembe said.

Dr Olive Sentumbwe, the family planning advisor at the World Health Organisation, said northern Uganda has the lowest contraceptive rate prevalence at just 11 per cent. This is closely followed by West Nile at 14 per cent, eastern at 20 and western Uganda at 21 per cent while Kampala has the highest contraceptive use at 48 per cent.

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