Govt lauds Reproductive Health Uganda at its AGM in Lira City
Lira – 15, October 2021: Lira, a “baby” city among the seven that became operational in July 2020 on Friday made a historic moment when it became the first city to host the 65th National Council Annual General Meeting of Reproductive Health Uganda.
The National Council AGM is currently taking place at Margharita Palace Hotel.
Dr. Charles Olaro, the director of clinical service at the ministry of health is the chief guest at the ongoing AGM. He is representing health minister, Dr. Jane Aceng.
In her speech read by Dr. Olaro, Dr. Jane Aceng lauded Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) for working closely with the ministry of health to provide sexual reproductive health (SRH) services and strengthening the capacity of different cadres of health workers in different aspects of SRH
“RHU is one of our key organizations that helps to complement our efforts in fighting negative cultural practices such as Gender-Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation,” Dr. Aceng observed, and said this has seen the SRH indicators and general sexual reproductive health outlook of the country improving in recent years.
She further commended RHU as a leader in SRH and rights and its experience and expertise which she adds is vital in the struggle to improve the productive health of “our people” especially the vulnerable and the undeserved.
The minister further observed that Covid-19 has worsened some SHR issues such as Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and teenage pregnancy.
“The number of teenage girls that are pregnant in Lango sub region is particularly alarming, at this time, the girl child is particularly vulnerable to stress and other psychological challenges,” minister Aceng, also the Lira City Woman MP lamented in her speech.
Meanwhile, Jackson Kipande, the national chairperson of RHU commended the leadership of Lango Cultural Foundation for embracing family planning services and the fight against teenage pregnancy.
It should be noted that LCF and RHU recently signed a pact to ensure that the former integrate sexual reproductive health into its programs. Lango has seen over 23,000 teenage pregnancies in the last year largely attributed to the lockdown as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.
He boasts of the numerous achievements registered by Reproductive Health Uganda despite the challenges especially that of Covid-19 pandemic.
Kipande further commended RHU Lira branch for offering exceptional family planning and post-abortion care services.
Overall, the national chairman says despite challenges RHU registered a 7% increase in its revenue to a tune of shs38b.
In 2020, RHU offered 79, 749 abortion care services; 1,338,092 sexual reproductive health services were offered to the youth and 803,174 family planning services, among others.
Mr. Kipande, however, highlighted some of the challenges encountered by RHU which among others include less commitment and investment in sexual reproductive health as seen in the delay on policies by the government, citing SRH policy for the adolescents.
He also said in some facilities, young people especially in the rural countryside face challenges in accessing SRH commodities, a trend he attributes to the increase in teenage pregnancy.
Jackson Chekweko is the executive director RHU. He presented an overview of the organization from 2016 to 2020 where he said their target was to have 40% of the districts in Uganda effectively providing sexual reproductive health services.
He adds that so far, RHU has pushed for five out of the 11 SRH policies that have already been approved, and ensured that National Drug Authority scales up the number of drug shops offering injectable contraceptives.
“Every year, more than 1m people are served through RHU outlets providing 7,122,703 services (2020) and ( 7,721,138 (2019) making us the second biggest service provider after government,” the ED said.
He, however, noted that Covid-19 has created “a baby boom” after several teenagers became pregnant, and appealed to Dr. Olaro and the entire health ministry to consider passing a policy that ensures young people access contraceptives.
“The wonder magic that can help us reduce teenage pregnancy is to allow the use of emergency contraceptives and should be provided free of charge by the government because some of these teenagers cannot afford..”
On the other hand, Sarah Acen, the branch chairperson Lango region which comprises Lira and Apac clinics said they served 250 clients in 2020, shs600m was realized and the center also recruited over 10 volunteers.
According to Acen, Lango sub region is lacking an admission wing because of the small space at the facility along Obote Avenue and if this is rectified, they could enhance the collections, further stating that Apac clinic needs fencing and expansion of the maternity ward.
She proposed that Lango branch should be split into two so that Lira and Apac branches are autonomous based on the colossal revenue collection and increase in the population.