In a parliamentary session, State Minister for Primary Health Care, Ms. Margaret Muhanga, addressed concerns regarding a proposal from the Health Ministry to introduce birth control methods for girls aged 15 and above. Lawmakers, led by Deputy Speaker Mr. Thomas Tayebwa, expressed their reservations about the plan, asserting that it could lead to unintended consequences and serious health risks for young girls.
During the discussion, members of Parliament referred to the proposed policy as “devilish” and argued that it could negatively influence the minds of the nation’s youth, who represent the future of the country. Amuru MP Lucy Akello questioned the motives behind the plan and expressed concerns about the potential health effects on young girls.
Deputy Speaker Tayebwa, along with lawmakers from various political backgrounds, shared the view that implementing such a policy would effectively legitimize defilement. He stressed that this move could have severe implications for the well-being of young girls.
MP Akello also raised the issue of age, pointing out that the proposed policy lowers the age from 18 to 15. She questioned the safety and consequences of providing contraceptives to girls who have not given birth, highlighting her own reservations even as an adult who has given birth. She emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of children under such a policy.
Dr. Charles Olaro, the director for curative services at the Health Ministry, clarified that the policy was aimed at out-of-school teenagers and young adults. In response to lawmakers’ concerns, Minister Muhanga revealed that the proposal was not yet an approved policy but rather a suggestion made by Dr. Olaro to address the increasing issue of teenage pregnancies in society.
Deputy Speaker Tayebwa insisted that such a policy should not be implemented, emphasizing the need to focus on prevention and monitoring rather than legitimizing it with the provision of services. He expressed relief that the proposal had not yet become official policy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government and the United Nations Population Fund estimated that up to 32,000 teenagers eloped every month, particularly in 2020 and 2021 when students spent extended periods at home.