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Human rights implications of inadequate contraceptive access and use in Uganda

Family planning services and contraceptives are critical in the prevention of unintended pregnancies, miscarriages, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths. Hence, they improve the health of women and the overall well-being of families.

Over time, there has been commendable effort from Government of Uganda, with support from development partners, as well as non-government actors to ensure access to family planning goods and services. CEHURD commends all actors that are making a contribution towards the health and well-being of women and their families.

However, in spite of these efforts, contraceptive access and use in Uganda remains a major challenge. The reasons for the slow progress have been widely researched and documented. CEHURD, in partnership with Center for Reproductive Rights undertook a fact-finding exercise to collect experiences from women, men, service providers, program managers and policy makers with provision, access and utilization of contraceptives. This report summarizes the findings from this exercise.

Myths and misconceptions, fear of side effects and stigma remain major challenges. In addition to these, the shrinking space for sexual reproductive health and rights also affect access and use of contraception. The continued impasse on comprehensive sexuality education; the stalling of the 2015 Standards and Guidelines for Reduction of Maternal Mortality and Morbidity due to Unsafe Abortions; and the re-instatement of the Mexico City policy by the Trump administration in the United States are examples of the shrinking space for advancing sexual reproductive health and rights. These policy setbacks are also a testament that we continue to live in denial.

Key policies that would otherwise ensure women access contraceptive information and services including, among others have been recalled yet those that necessitate development including the sexual reproductive health guidelines, Adolescent Health policy etc. have been shelved.

These results from our fact-finding exercise provide insights into why access to contraceptives matters for women and their families and communities should be considered as a human rights issue. In the findings we highlight the specific recommendations to various actors and make a call for action from the state and non-state actors to improve access to contraception as a matter of human rights.

Click here to DOWNLOAD full report here.

We are grateful to our partners the Center and the respondents. We will also appreciate your feedback.

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