Home Government Ministry of Health Proposes Lowering Contraceptive Eligibility Age for Teenage Girls

Ministry of Health Proposes Lowering Contraceptive Eligibility Age for Teenage Girls

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ministry of health proposes lowering contraceptive eligibility age for teenage girls
ministry of health proposes lowering contraceptive eligibility age for teenage girls
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In a recent development on October 10, 2023, a proposal from the Ministry of Health has sparked debate within the Ugandan Parliament. The proposal suggests lowering the eligibility age for contraceptives, potentially allowing girls as young as 15 years old to access birth control pills.

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, expressed strong reservations about the proposal. He contended that such a move might inadvertently normalize unlawful relationships with underage girls. Tayebwa criticized the idea, viewing it as a failure to protect the welfare of young girls and called for its dismissal.

Tayebwa proposed that the government should instead intensify efforts to combat defilement rather than provide contraceptives, which he considered a measure that could encourage harmful behavior.

The Minister of State for Health (Primary Health Care), Hon. Margaret Muhanga Mugisa, clarified that the proposal had been put forth by the Director for Curative Services, Dr. Charles Olaro. Dr. Olaro had suggested this idea in response to the rising number of teenage pregnancies and related deaths. However, Muhanga emphasized that it was still a suggestion and not an official policy.

Hon. Lucy Akello (FDC, Amuru District Woman Representative) raised concerns about the potential health effects of contraceptives on young girls, as opposed to the consequences of teenage pregnancies the proposal aimed to address. She questioned whether contraceptive use could lead to a rise in HIV infections and requested a comprehensive study to assess the potential implications.