Uganda Considers Allowing Contraceptives for 15-Year-Olds

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Uganda Considers Allowing Contraceptives for 15-Year-Olds
PHOTO - Global Press Journal
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In a potential policy reversal, Uganda is considering allowing girls as young as 15 to access contraceptive services, aiming to address the issue of early pregnancies in the country. Dr. Charles Olaro, the director for curative services at the Ministry of Health, emphasized that ensuring access to reproductive health information and services, including contraceptives for young people, is a matter of fundamental rights and public health.

Religious leaders, however, have expressed concerns about the proposed policy, stating that it may encourage promiscuity among young people. They argue that contraceptives should be promoted among married couples, and they emphasize the importance of abstinence until marriage.

Despite the opposition, proponents argue that the COVID-19-induced lockdown revealed the urgent need for change, as teenage pregnancies surged during this period. They believe that empowering young people with information and access to contraceptives can help prevent early pregnancies.



The government and the United Nations Population Fund estimate that up to 32,000 teenagers eloped every month during the pandemic, ranking Uganda as the 10th country with the highest teenage pregnancy globally. However, recent data shows a marginal decrease in pregnancy rates compared to 2016.

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While the policy to permit birth control measures for teenagers has not yet been formally approved, it reflects years of efforts to promote access to family planning options among adolescents and young adults. The government aims to empower young people, recognizing that early pregnancies can hinder their education and future prospects.

Critics have raised concerns about potential risks, such as increased HIV cases among teenagers and the long-term effects of early exposure to contraceptives. The debate centers on the need to address the issue of early pregnancies while considering the age of consent in Uganda.

Efforts to increase access to contraceptives for adolescents and young people continue, with organizations and health centers working to provide sexual reproductive health and rights services to this demographic. Advocates stress the importance of addressing negative attitudes among health workers, parents, and religious leaders towards contraceptives for young people to ensure effective implementation of the policy.





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