According to the District Health Officer - DHO, Dr Solomon Asiimwe, the district has a high teenage pregnancy rate of 25.6 per cent and a fertility rate of 7.8 per cent which is way above the national fertility rate of 5.4 per cent.
Kabarole district requires 2.7 billion shillings to implement a
five-year plan aimed at combating the high birth rate in the area.
The plan is, “Kabarole District Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan
2019/2020 – 2023/2024”.
According to the District Health Officer - DHO, Dr Solomon Asiimwe, the
district has a high teenage pregnancy rate of 25.6 per cent and a fertility
rate of 7.8 per cent which is way above the national fertility rate of 5.4 per
Dr Asiimwe reveals that on average, the district registers 16,000 new-borns
annually, which means that 1,300 babies are born monthly.
Asiimwe attributes the high teenage pregnancy rates to lack of sensitization among other factors.
Currently, he says that the family planning programme in the district is faced
with a number of challenges that include poor storage facilities at some health
facilities which affects the effectiveness of the family planning inputs, stock
out of family planning commodities and lack of varieties, and staff absenteeism
as a result of double employment by some staff.
The others are inadequate counselling on family planning side effects which at
times forces mothers to shun family panning altogether, poor coordination
mechanism for family planning and lack of sign language services which locks
out mothers with hearing disabilities.
The DHO notes that they want to implement part of the Local Government Act to curb
the high birth rate which, when left uncontrolled, pose future threats of
environmental degradation for settlement due to the high population pressure,
among other challenges.
The Local Governments Act 1997, CAP 243 devolves planning powers and allocation
of resources to local councils in their areas of jurisdiction. The same Act
empowers districts to plan, allocate, and coordinate district-led Initiatives
that are in line with national priorities.
Some of the activities they plan to undertake include intensive sensitization
campaign aimed at educating mothers about the importance of family planning,
recruiting special staff to handle the family planning campaign and offering
family planning services.
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As a result, Dr Asiimwe is hopeful that they will reduce the high birth rate
and increase the use of modern family planning methods from 35 per cent to 50
per cent by 2024.
Richard Rwabuhinga, the Kabarole LCV Chairperson, says the
district council has already adopted the plan and are now waiting for the new
financial year to see how it can be implemented.