By Okumu Livingstone
There is an increase in the number of women seeking contraceptives in district of Acholi sub region, Watchdog news agency has learnt.
Janet Akumu, a 28 – year – old mother from Kalimor village in Amuru district has two children, and is one of the beneficiaries. She opted for a three-year implant to allow her plough her garden regularly, get more food and sell the surplus while looking after her children.
“when I gave birth continuously I would not concentrate on the garden and the home did not have enough food for us to feed” Akumu says.
Geoffrey Oola, a Medical Officer at Labongogali Health Centre II in Amuru district, says they have registered an increase in the number of women seeking family planning services since the 42 days lockdown started.
“basing on the increase in teenage and unwanted pregnancies from the 2020 lockdown, youths, young women and mothers have embraced family planning methods” Oola says.
According to the Labongogali Health Centre II statistics during the easing of the lockdown an average of 11 to 15 women were registered compared to 40 to 60 women in a month.
“the numbers would be higher if the COVID 19 travel restrictions were not in place, but thanks to free services provided by United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), through Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU)” says Oola
Demeter Margret Namuyobo, RHU Medical Coordinator says the free Family Planning and sexual and reproductive health services which are offered to the vulnerable, underserved and marginalized communities have also helped raise the numbers of women accessing family planning services. The family planning services are offered under strict observance of COVID 19 guidelines with the help of district authorities and village health teams.
“in most cases these women and men present with a history of sexual and gender-based violence leading to harassment and unwanted pregnancies. They are counselled and enrolled on a family planning method of their choice after their consent” Namuyobo says.
In Gulu City, Anicia Filda, in – Charge RHU Branch clinic says most teenagers, men and young women have learnt lessons from the previous lockdown, in order not to have unplanned for children.
According to Filda, they now register between 5 to 10 first time mothers seeking family planning services each day compared to the past where they could spend days without receiving any clients.
She suspects that the mothers could have resorted to family planning services to avoid unplanned pregnancies now that they spent a lot of time with their spouses or because they have some free time because of the 42 days lock down.
Dr Patrick Odong, Amuru District Health Officer has confirmed the increasing number of women seeking family planning services. He however, suspects that some of the mothers could have resorted to Family planning because of the 42 days lock down and anticipate a possible extension.
in Acholi sub region Lamwo district topped cases of teenage pregnancies during the COVID 19 lockdown with close to 1000 reported cases. Other districts like Gulu, Amuru Agago and Nwoya reported 150, 620, 730 and 640 cases respectively.
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