Uganda has today joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Population Day on July 11, 2020. The theme for the day was “Leveraging Uganda’s population dynamics for a resilient future amidst Covid-19”.
Marie Stopes held press conference yesterday aimed at creating a platform to dialogue, share lessons and reflection on the delivery of SRHR services.
Currently about 360,000 teenage pregnancies (25%) occur annually far from the health sector development plan (HSDP) target of 14% by 2020. One in every four girls aged 15 -19 years is already a mother or pregnant with her first child.
Unmet need for family planning among adolescents aged 15-19 years is estimated at 30.4% with total demand of 52.3%.
The COVID-19 pandemic has for example seen an increase in teenage pregnancies among adolescent girls and young women as a result of limitation in access family planning services and lack of information. Media reports have confirmed that over 60 learners between the age of 14-15 years in Luuka and Kaliro districts are pregnant and likely not to see the classroom when the schools re-open.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been severe disruption of access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services. It has worsened existing inequalities for women and girls, and deepened discrimination against other marginalized groups including adolescents and young people.
Therefore, sexual and reproductive health services are a significant public health issue that demands urgent and sustained attention and investment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Service providers like Marie Stopes have continued to support women and health systems by delivering essential SRH andhealthcare services. Ensuring availability of family planning /SRH services during this crisis is critical to preventing the long-term vulnerability of unplanned pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and other reproductive health challenges including gender-based violence which has increased with the current lock down. “We know that during this time of redundancy and confinement at home, women are under a heightened risk of domestic violence and unplanned pregnancy. They need us more today than ever before.” Says Dr. Carole Sekimpi-Country director Marie Stopes UG.
In this time of crisis, we have made several adaptations including;