Uganda has one of the highest fertility rates in the world at 6.7 children per woman, and has the youngest population on the planet with a median age of less than fifteen. Large families trap people in poverty with not enough money for food, schooling and health care for their children. High fertility rates are dangerous for women, and make it hard for them to escape traditional childbearing roles. A 3% annual population growth rate is unsustainable for the environment, and leaves younger generations without enough water or land for cultivation. Three years ago, we were providing short-term methods of family planning, currently 60% of the services offered every month are long term. Now the contraceptive prevalence rate (proportion of women of childbearing age using some form of contraception) is 46% the Bwindi area.
Our family planning team goes out to communities to take the services to the area twice a week. Our efforts have now been more inclined to teenage education as a way to prevent teenage pregnancy. Our dream is to see Uganda gain control over its population growth.
Bwindi Community Hospital, in partnership with Family Health International, has trained 40 village health workers to be able to give contraceptive pills and injectionsThe Hospital integrates family planning into all the services and departments through a whole institution approach and all staff are trained to provide family planning education, counselling and all clinicians can provide the methods. Through our HIV and postnatal clinics, we run Family Planning Camps where we insert an implant that lasts for five years. Our team engages in debate with the public through radio talk shows, in villages and in trading centres, particularly with the men of the area who are the real decision makers and often those who are most opposed to reducing family sizes.