Lawmakers consider rolling out contraceptives to tackle Teenage pregnancy

A section of women members of Parliament is to consider the possibility of rolling out contraceptives in a move to arrest the escalating numbers of teenage pregnancies.

The lawmakers insist the move will enable girls between the ages of 10 to 18 to lead better lives free of early pregnancy and its adverse effects.

This was revealed during capacitating training for women members of parliament on Gender-Responsive Budgeting organized by a local non-government organization, Forum for Women in democracy (FOWODE) on Friday.

According to FIDA International Vice President(Africa), Laura Nyirinkindi rolling out contraceptives for teenagers can be a drastic measure to guard against teenage pregnancies but warns it may never receive the reception it deserves from cultural and religious institutions in Uganda.

“Looking at countries like South Africa that have given girls from 10 years access to contraceptives to inhibit the spread of HIV and teenage pregnancy. In Uganda, no law allows or prohibits young girls to access these methods, but in cultural and religious domains it will be weighed on a moral scope, this makes it a controversial area.” Nyirinkindi said

Bukomansimbi North legislator, Dr. Christine Ndiwalana told Gateway News that the soaring numbers can be arrested with such a measure.

“If we look at this move critically, it will change the way young girls see themselves and how society views them, definitely they will be protected against unsafe abortions and fatalities during childbirth, using contraceptives is a safer way for young girls that have been subjected to defilement and rape,” Ndiwalana said

Bugweri District Woman Member of Parliament, Racheal Magoola urged parents to engage their children in sexual education and open up on the consequences of sexual relations.

Magoola says the religious and cultural cruces can be resolved by focusing on nonsubjective values without indulging the patriarchal lens.

Research findings by FOWODE indicate that the bizarre levels of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) spur from limited budgetary funding directed towards government entities that are meant to handle related cases.

According to GAPP program director, Emmanuel Kashaija indulging members of Parliament may enable influencing political, legislative, and economic processes in Uganda to permit improved gender responsiveness and accountability.

“Increasing funding for government entities that deal directly with gender-related matters such the Child and family protection unit of the police and local government entities will help tackle the growing levels of GBV,” Kashaija said

“Engaging communities on forms of GBV, through meetings will help discourage the trends. People need to understand the law and hold the Police accountable, they should be able to follow up on cases of rape and defilement. It’s shocking that out of 600 rape cases this year only 19 got convictions.” Kashaija added

From March 2020 to June 2021, over 35,000 cases of teenage pregnancies have been recorded in Uganda alone as per Unicef. Less than 1% of reported GBV related cases between 2020 and 2021 have been tried in a competent court of law and suspects convicted.

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