By Alice Lubwama
Religious leaders from Kyenjojo district under western Uganda faith based organizations have asked Government through the ministry of finance to allocate funds for family planning activities and release them on time so that people mainly the teenagers can access the services.
The religious leaders made the appeal during a multi-stakeholders meeting organized by faith for family health initiative in Kyenjonjo district to review the impact of the family planning coasted implementation plan.
The men of God observed that the district mainly depends on donor money to offer family planning services which risks the activities in the event that donors decide to pull out.
A review of the health facility financial date shows that only 15 percent of family planning funds budgeted for the financial year 2018/2019 came from Government sources and in 2017/2018 the district did not contribute any funds towards the same.
The chairperson Kyenjojo Pentecostal churches council victor Sunday Sserunjogi asked fellow religious leaders not to reject the knowledge on family planning but pick what is in line within their doctrines so they integrate the knowledge with in the teachings.
“I have been serving in the church for the last thirteen years but what I have realized is that leaders reject knowledge before they get it.” Sserunjogi said.
Pastor Sserunjogi says that instead of insisting that family planning is not good, they can sit with the medical personnel and agree on the best modern methods because believes are already using them.
He also suggests that churches come up with a special budget for health as part of their offertories, so they are able to organize meetings with men and women to talk on issues of family planning.
He said that as religious leaders they do not need to bury their heads in the sand when it is a reality that people produce more children than they can manage.
Sserunjogi adds that if we don’t raise good families then we will invest more in crime prevention.
Mwenge North mp Lawrence Akugizibwe promised to work with colleagues in parliament to lobby for a special fund for family planning services so that people continue access the services even if the donors pull out.
Dr Martin Ruhweza from Kyenjojo hospital said women need to consult their spouses before they choose a family planning method to avoid unnecessary violence and for them to also support women to continue using family planning. “Sometimes when they have not been involved it has led to violence , so to be on the safe side you should always discuss with your spouse.” Ruhweza said.
The family planning coasted implementation plan funded by population action international was launched in 2016 in Kyenjojo district with the aim of encouraging districts with high population growth to allocate a certain percentage of funds to family planning services.
The executive chairperson board and management faith for family health initiative Jackie Katana says that according to their research the project has achieved its objective of religious leaders tracking the family planning funds because and be able to conduct a budget analysis, monitor the funds disbursed and make recommendations.
The meeting was attended by area MPs, senior interfaith leaders, civil society organizations, district leaders and district health team.