Kampala. Nearly one in every two Ugandan women of child-bearing age say their last pregnancy was unintended, according to a new survey findings.
The researchers also found that the use of emergency pills by unmarried but sexually active women is growing.
At least 9.3 per cent of unmarried women interviewed said they were using emergency pills. Last year, the number was 7.6 per cent, while in 2016, it was 3.5 per cent.
However, the annual Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA 2020) survey by Makerere University School of Public Health, and whose results were released in Kampala yesterday, found that contraceptive uptake is down by 8.2 percentage points, from 50 per cent to 41.8 per cent because of stockouts.
Whereas seven out of 10 of the women who participated in the study expressed demand for contraceptives, only about half of them were able to access them.
The research was conducted in 78 districts from April to May 2018 and the purpose was to track Uganda’s performance towards meeting the global family planning goals for 2020.
“Karamoja, West Nile and Busoga areas have significant need for family planning commodities. The strain of unintended pregnancies has an immediate effect on household income,” Prof Fredrick Makumbi, the PMA team leader, said during the release of the findings.
The situation has been made worse by reports, shared at yesterday’s function, that the National Medical Stores (NMS), which provides medicines and other medical supplies to public health facilities, has had no contraceptives stocks since December 2017.
The Health ministry has tapped the Joint Medical Stores (JMS), a joint venture between Catholic Medical Bureau and Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau, as alternative distributors to substitute Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG).
A senior Health ministry official said at the district level, the stock-out is a result of poor planning by officials who do not requisition for the right amount of commodities from NMS.
Dr Placida Mihayo, the family planning coordinator in the Health ministry, admitted that government health financing is inadequate.
“Districts should know the products they need so that they can order for what they can use. We will insist on them showing us returns before we give them more products,” he said.
Stocks of contraceptives, he added, were being moved from UHMG to NMS warehouse as a stop-gap measure to remedy the situation.
NMS general manager, Dr Amos Kamabare, told this newspaper last evening that the problem of shortage of contraceptives will be solved soon since the government has doubled its allocation for buying health commodities to Shs16b.