Uganda Makes Strides In The Family Planning Reproductive Health Indicators

Uganda has registered tremendous improvement in family planning and reproductive health over the last five years. On March 13, 2017, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) released the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) Key Indicators Report which shows progress on key family planning and reproductive health indicators.

UBOS is the Ugandan government¹s principal data collecting, processing, analysing and disseminating agency responsible for coordinating and supervising the National Statistical System.

The new UDHS reveals an increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) from 30% in 2011 to 39% in 2016. Though the CPR measures contraceptive use among married women, the new UDHS showed that 51% of sexually active unmarried women are also currently using a family planning method, and 47% of the same category are using a modern method. Injectables remain the most commonly used contraceptive method at 19% for married women and 21% for sexually active unmarried women.

At the same time, demand for family planning has increased to 67% (from 64% in 2011).  The percentage of that demand satisfied by modern methods has also increased from 41% in 2011 to 52% in 2016.  Today, 28% of Ugandan women have an unmet neet for family planning, a decline from 34% in 2011. Uganda¹s target is to reduce unmet need for family planning to 10% and increase CPR to 50% by 2020.

Commenting on this progress, the executive director of Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU), a lead Advance Family Planning partner in Uganda, Jackson Chekweko says it is a demonstration of different efforts, including the commitment and resilience of the civil society and development partners and the commitment of ministry of health and the outcomes of the public-private partnership.

"It is a demonstration of the good leadership right from the President after the [2012 Family Planning] London Summit," he says.

Chekweko adds, "When you think of the magic bullet, to me it's the family planning community outreaches through which millions of women have access family planning services and the advocacy work that has ensured the continued and sustained commitment from government. These have made the difference."

Uganda has made progress on a number of other key health indicators, as reflected in the table below:

Indicator                                                                                                                           2016          2011

Contraceptive prevalence rate (married women)                                                              39%         30%

Modern contraceptive prevalence rate (married women)                                                  35%         26%

Sexually active unmarried women currently using a family planning method                   51%          --

Sexually active unmarried women currently using a modern family planning method      47%           --

Total demand for family planning (married women)                                                            67%          64%

Demand for family planning satisfied by modern methods (married women)                    52%          41%

Unmet need for family planning (married women)                                                              28%          34%

Total fertility rate (births per woman)                                                                                   5.4            6.2

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births)                                                                 336          438

Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)                                                                           43             54

Under-5 mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)                                                                       64             90

Teenage pregnancy (current pregnancy or previous birth among adolescent women 15-19)     25%

"Advocacy by civil society organisations, engaging leaders at national and district level to fill the dots, has paid off. This is what we should consolidate; and intensify our efforts to sustain the commitment," Chekweko adds. 

One area that did not register progress over the last five years is adolescent pregnancy. Twenty-five percent of of adolescent women 15-19 years old who have begun childbearing (up 1% from 2011). To address the high rates of teen pregnancy, Advance Family Planning partner Reproductive Health Uganda, is working with the Government of Uganda to dedicate specific hours for health facilities to provide adolescents with family planning and sexual and reproductive health information and services. RHU has previously had success with securing youth-friendly family planning service hours in Uganda¹s Dokolo district.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons by International Citizen Services