By Ritah Kemigisa
A ground-breaking report on family planning in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries has shown that more women and girls have access to family planning now than ever before.
It reveals that 314 million women and girls are now using modern contraception, with 53 million additional users in the last seven years, and 9 million in the past year alone.
According to Family Planning 2020’s Progress Report 2019-2020, in Uganda, over 3 million women are using a modern method of contraception today, almost double the number of users since 2012.
Launched on the side-lines of the International Conference on Population and Development in Nairobi, FP2020’s latest report is part of the 25-year arc of progress that has lifted hundreds of millions of women and girls since the Cairo Summit in 1994.
In a press statement issued this morning, Beth Schlachter, Executive Director of FP2020 says Uganda was part of the first group of countries to commit to the FP2020 partnership when it launched in 2012.
She says since then, the country has made significant progress toward increased uptake of family planning.
“The evidence is clear – when you invest in women and girls, the good deed never ends. Barriers are broken and opportunities open up that not only lift women out of poverty but can elevate society and bring about economic gains. No other single change can do more to improve the state of the world”, said Ms Schlachter.
The report shows that while progress has been significant, FP2020 approaches its deadline year and the initial numeric goal of reaching an additional 120 million women and girls has yet to be realized. The challenge of putting women and girls at the centre of development remains critical.
There are 926 million women of reproductive age today across the 69 FP2020 countries – 100 million more than there were in 2012. With this number expected to surpass 1 billion in 2025, millions more women will need vital family planning services.
According to Ms Schlachter, Uganda continues to face family planning challenges, with its fertility, maternal mortality, and teenage pregnancy rates still among the highest globally.
The estimated percentage of women with an unmet need for a modern method of contraception (married/in-union) stands at 32.5% in 2019.
FP2020 is a global partnership that supp orts the rights of woman and girls to decide – freely and for themselves – whether, when, and how many children they want to have.