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Health Workers in Karamoja Demand Male Participation in Family Planning Programs :: Uganda Radionetwork

Health Workers in Karamoja Demand Male Participation in Family Planning Programs

According to health workers, the non involvement of men in family planning has increased domestic violence in the households and high cases of contraceptive discontinuation among women.
John Ampeire of the Uganda Population Council during the regional Family Planning Dialogue in Moroto district

Audio 5

Health workers in the Karamoja sub region are calling for male participation in family planning programs. According to health workers, the non-involvement of men in family planning has increased domestic violence and high cases of contraceptive discontinuation among women.

Patience Alwoch Ojok, the Assistant District Health Officer for Kaabong says that men are the key decision makers in the family and excluding them in the discussions of contraceptives has affected uptake of modern methods of birth control.

Alwoch said that there is a need to involve men during the sensitization and the acquisition of contraceptives so that both the family heads can embrace the services after understanding its value. He adds that they have registered several cases of men beating wives for accessing birth control services without their consent.

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Regina Narus, the Assistant District Health Officer for Napak observed that the contraceptive implant has been the worst choice because it is placed under the skin in the upper arm of a woman and it is always trouble if a man finds out.

Narus said mothers have had these implants removed by their husbands in cruel ways without knowing that this could lead to another danger of bleeding to death. 

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Alwoch also observed that there is still a negative attitude towards the use of modern birth control methods among the communities. Alwoch said that mothers who go through the side effects of the contraceptives have scared away those who were interested and many have gone back to the traditional birth control methods.

She also revealed that in the traditional setting, married women are not allowed to use condoms and these are some of the barriers frustrating efforts to control unwanted pregnancies.

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Dr. Fredrick Makumbi, the associate professor in the department of Epidemiology at Makerere University School of Public Health said that Karamoja sub region has the lowest uptake of contraceptives.

Makumbi said that most women in Karamoja have more trust in the traditional birth control method compared to the modern.

He said that in the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey of 2016, they have seen an upsurge in the usage of non-modern methods that is higher than what has been in the previous years.

Makumbi also noted that in their survey conducted in 141 villages across the country, they were able to get the information about women between the ages of 15 to 49 years who are using any contractive methods both traditional and modern.

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Meri Jino, the LCV Chairperson Kaabong district notes that men have started appreciating the importance of allowing their wives to access contraceptives because of the biting poverty in the region.

Jino said women want to use family planning but sometimes they are frustrated by lack of access to the services and to decide on a preferred method.

‘’Right now Karamoja is heading into a serious burden, the fertility rate is at 7.6 percent and this puts the region in the high risks of teenage pregnancies yet there are still challenges of hunger and poverty’’ Jino said.

He said it is high time families should embark on family planning in order to have a manageable number of children considering the situation at hand.

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