President opens National Family Planning Conference, urges stakeholders to have a holistic approach to the population question

Monday 28th July 2014

President Yoweri Museveni has opened a three-day National family planning conference with a call on stakeholders in the health sector, Uganda's development partners and policy formulators, not to confuse family planning with population control.

He said that family planning was good for the health of mothers and the children, and for the family welfare as it is able to save and create wealth as well as for national development.

The conference is taking place at Kampala Serena Hotel under the theme: "Accelerating Social and Economic Transformation through Universal Access to Voluntary Family Planning."

It is organized by the Ministry of Health with support from the United Nations Fund for Population Advancement and other development partners.

The conference, the first of its kind, is intended to draw particular attention to family planning with a view to repositioning it as a tool for national development.

It also aims at calling for support from all development partners and government in mobilizing resources and support efforts geared towards family planning services as a way of causing social and economic transformation.

President Museveni told the participants this afternoon that a big population per se is not the biggest problem to Uganda but “we need to build the economy and provide adequate health and education facilities, develop infrastructure and handle unemployment which is the major problem as it affects the quality of the population that the country produces”.

"Family planning is not about population control and a big population is not the problem but what quality of people the country is producing. Do they have access to essential services? Do they meet their needs?"

Citing countries like China and India, whose population has each gone past a billion mark, the President said that whereas those Asian nations' population has grown overtime, the two countries have continued to prosper because population growth was being followed by economic growth.

The President also launched the population demographic dividend report that was compiled by the National Planning Authority.

The report looks at how to make use of the current Ugandan population and lead to national development by reducing the ratio of dependants to the working population.

He urged all stakeholders to have a holistic approach to the population question putting into consideration the merits and demerits of a big and small population.

The State Minister for Primary Health Care, Ms. Sarah Opendi, said that the conference has been organized to create awareness about the importance of family planning to national development and also to seek for support from all stakeholders towards family planning and maternal health in general.

She said that lack of family planning services has resulted in high infant mortality rates, teenage pregnancies, increased school dropouts, especially by the girl child, abortions, increase in mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

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