Karamoja Women Embrace Family Planning

3618 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Christine Tekho a mother of nine children gave birth to her first child at 15 years in 1992. The first family planning programme was introduced in Katikekile sub county Moroto district in 1997. In Karamoja region, the more daughters a man has, the richer he is considered since each girl is equal to 100 cows irrespective of their educational level yet many of them do not get opportunities to study.

Women in Karamoja region are slowly embracing family planning methods in a bid to have manageable families.
 
Christine Tekho, a mother of nine children, gave birth to her first child at 15 years in 1992. The first family planning programme was introduced in Katikekile sub county Moroto district in 1997.
 
In Karamoja region, the more daughters a man has, the richer he is considered since each girl is equal to 100 cows irrespective of their educational level yet many of them do not get opportunities to study. Christine notes states that men only come in to benefit from the girl child when they are ready for marriage but are considered a woman's responsibility when they are still young.
 
However Tekho says she had to stealthily, without the knowledge of her husband, go and attend the family planning meetings. It was a tag of war for Tekho to convince her husband to allow her use family planning but she eventually succeeded and now uses Depo Provera - a contraceptive injection which is given every 3 months.
 
Speaking through a translator Tekho says majority of the women in Karamoja prefer implants as a family planning method.
                                                                       
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According to an opinion poll carried out in April this year by the Ministry of Health and Communication for Development Foundation Uganda 75 percent of women can now name two methods of family planning and how it is used.
 
Currently over 60 percent of couples in Karamoja attend antennal care clinics thus an improvement of male involvement. On average a Karamajong woman gives birth to eight children.
 
Dr Simon Omeke the District Health Officer Katakwi says Knowledge and attitudes towards child spacing is improving.
 
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Dr Zainab Akol, the Principal Medical Officer in charge of family planning in the Ministry of Health, urges service providers to understand the Ugandan population sector and its complications. She argues that instead of using the term family planning it is time to call it fertility planning, preservation, control and promotion especially for the youth who are getting into the reproductive stage.
 
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Dr Akol noted that communities deserve information to make healthy choices and health partners should be embarrassed that people in Karamoja are coming out to say that they never heard of family planning until recently.
 
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UNFPA appreciates the knowledge about family planning, HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health but notes that it does not translate into adoption of appropriate behaviour. This is due to cultural, social and religious norms.