Clergy applauded for promoting family planning

By Alice Lubwama

The chairperson of the health committee of parliament DR Michael Bukenya assures religious leaders that the health budget will not be reduced from the 2.6 trillion shillings that was allocated last year.

The religious leaders led by the deputy Mufti Uganda Muslim supreme council Sheikh Ali Waiswa are concerned about the declining investment in the health sector which would definitely affect Family planning budget (from 7.9%-5%) •

They are also concerned with the low absorption of funds by the ministry of health due to late release and want the funds allocated for different programs to be accounted for.

Bukenya says that although the call circular that was earlier sent to parliament by the ministry of finance had indicated a decline in the health budget, but parliament has recommended for even more funds for the sector.

The health budget was allocated 2.6 trillion in financial year 2019-2020.

Bukenya notes that parliament has also proposed an allocation of extra 15 billion shillings for Maama kits on top of the 16 billion shillings allocated for reproductive health supplies.

He has commended the religious leaders for the job well done in advocating for family planning financing so that Ugandans can have manageable families.

The inter faith dialogue was convened by an organization faith for family health initiative with the aim of bringing together religious leaders and decision makers to discuss how they can work together to improve the health of Ugandans with more emphasis on family planning.

New inter religious alliance to promote family planning

By Alice Lubwama

Representatives of different religious organizations have launched an interfaith alliance which will coordinate faith based organizations that will promote family planning.

The launch was done at the end of the two day national family planning conference which took place at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The alliance will also be used to mobilize funds to support family planning services and building capacity for religious leaders as family planning champions.

The Catholic Church was represented by sister Jacinta Mukamalimpa from Kyenjojo diocese, the Anglican Church was represented by Bishop Amos Magezi of North West Ankole diocese, while the Pentecostal church was represented by Pastor Joseph serwadda and Sheik Mohammadali Waiswa the deputy mufti Uganda Muslim supreme council represented the Muslims.

The deputy mufti Uganda Muslim supreme council Sheik Muhammadali Waiswa said that although it is a taboo to talk about family planning within the Muslim community, with the continuous mobilization and sensitization of the people by the religious leaders, the Muslim community is now receptive to family planning and now regularly access the services.

Speaking on behalf of the Pentecostal churches, the Presiding Apostle of Born Again faith, Pastor Joseph Serwadda said that the Bible supports planning; it’s the reason why a number of people in the old testament got children at the late age. Serwada further said that Family planning is Godly but it should be managed by the people who understand it.

Reverend Moses Semugooma who represented the Anglican Archbishop elect Bishop Stephen Kazimba Mugalu who is also a family planning champion said that the religious leaders need to support the family planning services so that mothers can get information to make the right decision.

Semugooma noted that if the leaders come out openly to speak about family planning, they will have a healthy population who will support the church.

He revealed that the Anglican Church has already committed to promote health and through Mityana diocese, the church supported the district local government to develop the family planning implementation coasted plan now being used as reference point for the entire country.

“It was Mityana diocese church of Uganda through faith for family heath initiative and population action international that came out to support the district to have the family planning implementation coasted plan. He emphasized.

Speaking at the same function ,the executive secretary of the catholic medical bureau Dr Ronald Kasyaba said that there are scriptural references that support the catholic church on family planning but the deference has been on the methods used.

However, he said that the church is now coming out strongly to do the promotion of the effective modern methods that are consistent with the doctrine of the Catholic Church, like standard day’s method, lactation amenorrhea method for breast feeding mothers and the 2day method. “There is no choice the priests should talk about the benefits of family planning, but we are not teaching them to practice and tell the people which method they use but tell them where to go. He said.

The board chairperson of Faith for family health initiative Jackie katana said, there was need to engage the religious leaders to spread the gospel on family planning services after a study on the status of family planning indicated that communities were not getting the right information and counseling on services.

She has however urged the ministry of health to target the resource allocation to demand generation and community mobilization.

Religious leaders want family planning to be directed to youths

By Alice Lubwama

The Uganda Muslim supreme council calls on stakeholders in the health sector to target family planning services to the youth since they are more sexually active and potential victims of early pregnancy.

While launching the family planning costed implementation plan for Iganga district,the 2nd deputy Mufti Uganda Muslim council Sheik Waiswa Muhammed Ali said that although as religious leaders do not encourage sex before marriage but the youth confront challenges unwillingly and it’s the reason why they need knowledge on family planning in order to over come them.

The family planning costed implementation plan is a commitment made by the leaders of the district to make a clear allocation and mobilization of funds for family planning services.

The initiative was developed by faith for family health initiative an NGO advocates for better health through faith in order to increase the funding for family planning services in the country , especially in districts with high fertility rates but with high levels of poverty

Speaking at the same function, the Chairperson of health committee of parliament Dr Micheal Bukenya asked the district council to scrutinize the sexual reproductive health policy recently developed by the ministry of health so that they can make bye-laws and ordinances to address issues such as early marriages and teenage pregnancies.

According to the assistant district health officer Iganga Baluka Anne Mary Iganga has 6-5% fertility rate compared to 5.4 % national fertility rate ,saying there is need to control it.

Despite the high fertility rate, the use of contraceptives in Iganga is 35 % compared to the national target of 50%

Religious leaders commit to lobby for more funds for family planning services

By Alice Lubwama

Representatives of faith based organizations in Uganda including Protestant, Muslim, catholic, Adventist and born again faith have further committed to lobby for more allocation of funds for family planning services also pledge to sensitize their congregation on manageable families for the nation to have a health population.

During a meeting to review Uganda’s progress on the 2020 national target to implement family planning programs to reach women, men, youth, and communities with voluntary high-quality services and information to meet their needs , the religious leaders agreed to lobby government and development partners to provide more funds in order to have orderly families.

The bishop of Mityana diocese Right Reverend Stephen Kazimba Mugalu also a family champion amongst religious leaders say he was grateful to see churches and other religious leaders realizing their mandate to save lives.

Bishop Kazimba has also asked fellow religious leaders to put family planning into right perspective by not misinterpreting the scripture in the bible of producing and filling the whole earth.

DR Betty kyadondo the director family health at the National population council says that the rate at which Uganda was progressing at increasing the modern contraceptive prevalence rate to 50% was good enough and she is optimistic that the country will met its targets.

Kyadodo however note that Uganda’s biggest challenge was reaching the adolescent girls to use family planning because they engage in sex and get pregnant frequently and also married off to men older than them and don’t support them to use family planning.

In 2012 Uganda’s prevalence rate Of use of modern contraceptive was at 28% but it has now increased to 36% .

The UN foundation through faith for family health NGO advocates for better health, has been supporting religious leaders to engage both the local and central government to allocation more funds for family planning services.

The advocacy has seen 8 districts I. Uganda also Ting a portion of their health budge to family planning services. The districts include Namayingo, Mubende, Busia, iganga,kyejnjojo, Kagadi,Kabarole,and Mityana.