Young women and girls need access to safe abortion care services in Uganda

Amanda Joan

Joan Amanda, the Executive Director, Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health has a dedicated team that supports, helps, finds and implements solutions that young people can access to sexual and reproductive health locally and at the national level. The organization focuses on empowering young people with the right information

The Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health works with young people in ensuring they get the quality of life, they deserve.

On Wednesday 23rd, the Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health organized the first-ever conference on unsafe abortion which was under the theme `Maternal mortality due to unsafe abortion, whose responsibility?’

The event took place at Imperial Royale Hotel and gathered over hundreds of young people, Adolescents, health care providers, Human rights activists, policymakers, line ministries, civil society organizations working on post-abortion care services, law enforcement institutions, national medical stores, service providers, scholars and Media

Speaking at the first National Youth Conference on Unsafe Abortion in Uganda, Amanda Joan said; Uganda has one of the highest rates of unsafe abortion in Eastern Africa, the estimated rate of 54 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age is far higher than the average of 39 abortions per 1,000 women for East Africa

Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in Uganda; contributing approximately 26% of the estimated 6,000 maternal deaths every year, and an estimated 40% of admissions for emergency obstetric care. It equally places a huge cost on the public health system – She added

So many young girls die due to unsafe abortion, pregnancy complications, others have lost their loved one, others have lost their uterus-es. Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health is trying to help young girls and women take on new roles, and know their rights – Mark Kasiita said

Young people have to be at the forefront of pushing the bounds until a groundbreaking idea becomes the norm. Today, so many young people are tired of the stigmatizing way people talk about family planning, they are tired of young voices being excluded from  Abortion conversations. They’re tired of abortion restrictions, and they are tired of other people telling them what they can do with their bodies

It’s time for young people to fight for their right to abortion care services, and as a country, we need to ensure youth can access safe abortion care. Joel, Advocate said

Young people face some of the steepest barriers to accessing contraception. A comprehensive understanding of women’s expectations of and experiences with their health is urgently needed to inform the stakeholders on why there is a need for them to access family planning tools and abortion care services

Less information is known about abortion `unsafe abortion’ attitudes and behaviours among stakeholders. We need more champions in Uganda to front these issues that young people are facing.

Parents have a strong important role when it comes to ending HIV, reducing unwanted pregnancies. they need to expose their sons and daughters to sex conversations, this can be potentially hard to do but it is one way we can solve all the issues the country is facing right now

Most of the young women and girls lack Sexual Reproductive information and others are uncertain about their life desires, and many still lack contraceptive knowledge that would help them avoid unwanted pregnancy 

During the conference; young people aired their voices; there is a need to identify the types of programs that could effectively promote family planning in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies over their reproductive life course

According to Hon Baguma Spellanza, vice-chair on the committee on health – providing youth-friendly services where no one asks anything negative is one way to end unsafe abortions in Uganda

We can do better as a country and donors should bring in money to help young parents be responsible and help end stigma around abortions. Young people need to be given information, there is PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which can help on some of the challenges young girls and women face – Hon. Baguma added 

We should all be reminded that; The Ministry of Health launched Uganda’s Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan in 2014, with the goal of increasing the use of modern methods of family planning from 26 percent of married women in 2011 to 50 percent by 2020. Improving access to family planning is a crucial part of Uganda’s commitment to reduce maternal mortality and improve the economic well-being

When you look at how many girls die due to unsafe abortion in Uganda, it’s sad and to address challenges that young people face, there is a need for comprehensive sexuality education, and the government should provide contraception.

It was an interactive dialogue, young people meaningfully engaged with policymakers, religious leaders and cultural leaders, and others used online platforms to talk about the #FromPromisesToActions, check it out and know what people think about abortion, unsafe and post-abortion in Uganda.

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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