News

From Family Planning to “Future Planning”

5 October 2017
Young participants marching during the opening ceremony of the Youth Pre-Family Conference Event (Photo: Reach A Hand Uganda)

Judith Namara, a 19-year-old student in Kampala was among the over 200 young Ugandans from rural and urban areas who gathered at the Youth Pre-Family Conference Event in Nsambya on September 25.  Under the theme “My Choice, My Health, My Future,” attendees to the event had the opportunity to learn about family planning, access youth responsive health services, and bring their voices together to advocate for increased access to contraception for young people.

“I advise the youth like me to go for family planning to avoid early pregnancy,” Judith explained.

Young Ugandans have big dreams for themselves and their communities. For them, family planning is a means of “future planning.”

“We cannot develop without young people, your contribution is so needed to transform our communities, and the country as a whole,” Hon. Dr. Joyce Moriku, Minister of State for Primary Health Care said at the event.

Young people’s active contribution to individual and community development can only be achieved if they realize their right to lead healthy lives by accessing the tools they need to protect themselves. One of those tools is rights-based, voluntary contraception.

Progress, challenges, and moving forward  

Not many young people in Uganda today have accurate knowledge about, or access to, quality information on contraception. Despite Uganda’s positive political paradigm shift on family planning, the recent Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) indicates the low family planning use among sexually active young women (only 39 percent of currently married and 51 percent of unmarried sexually active women are using a method of family planning).

UNFPA in Uganda works to ensure that women and girls like Judith, who want to avoid early pregnancy, can have access to the safe, effective and affordable contraceptive methods of their choice.

To achieve this goal, it is important to collaborate with other key stakeholders and different players; “Parents, educators, health care providers can play a critical role in helping young people learn about, obtain and use contraception effectively,” said UNFPA Representative, Mr. Alain Sibenaler in his remarks.

The event, organized by Ministry of Health in collaboration with UNFPA, the Uganda Family Planning Consortium and other development partners amplified the voices of young people ahead of the Second National Family Planning Conference held in Kampala on 26 and 27 September.

 

- Written by Mina Nozawa and Raquel Gonzalez Palomino