According to the National population and housing census report 2014 by Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda has seen great population growth from 2.4 million in 1911 to 34.6 million in 2014 with an increasing population growth rate from 1.5 percent to 3 percent by 2014. Uganda Family Planning Costed implementation plan (2016-2020) developed in 2014 notes that high fertility rate due to low contraceptive uptake is one of the reasons leading to a high population growth rate, which puts a strain on the countries resources hence drives up the poverty rate and retards development. This is evidenced by findings of the Uganda National Household survey 2016/2017 undertaken by UBOS which show that the proportion of Ugandans living in poverty increased from 19.7 percent in 2012/2013 to 27 percent in 2016/2017.
Uganda can be able to harness benefits of reducing the population growth rate by handling the underlying causes of low contraceptive uptake. Andi JR, 2014 in a study on “Modern contraceptive use among women in Uganda; An analysis of trends and patterns (1995-2011)” pointed out that wealth status and residence(rural or urban) affect accessibility and affordability of the contraceptives since women in urban areas and upper wealth quintiles had a higher contraceptive uptake than their counterparts.
According to a qualitative study published in 2017 by a research and policy organization called Guttmacher institute accessed from https://www.guttmacher.org>factsheet, Low contraceptive use in Uganda is due to misconceptions about family planning, unavailability and un accessibility of suitable contraceptives, low male support, stigma and fear of side effects. In addition, National Service Delivery Point (SDP) survey report (2015) conducted by United Nations Population Fund showed that over 70 percent of Service delivery points had experienced stock outs of at least one Family planning commodity in the past six months.
The above statistics show that some clients are not able to access, choose and use affordable quality contraceptives of their choice whenever they require. According to WHO “Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS) exists when a client can choose, obtain and use preferred quality and affordable contraceptive whenever required”. Therefore, absence of Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS) undermines development of Uganda.
In a bid to ensure RHCS, Uganda has had several commitments since 2009 including the RHCS Strategic plan 2009/2010-2014/2015, and RHCS strategic plan 2015/16-2021/2022 and also the recent Family planning Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) 2015-2020 for family planning that seek to ensure that a full mix of FP methods (contraceptive commodities) and supplies are adequate and available to meet the changing needs and choices of FP clients throughout their reproductive lives. The CIP costs specific activities that will ensure that the contraceptives available in the country are of high quality and are delivered through the “last mile” to the health facility and community to ensure reproductive health commodity security throughout the country. However, the country is yet to realize the potential benefits of implementing the plan.
About the author: Ventrine Marion Chelimo is a Pharmacist and Research Analyst at AGL