The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, has criticised a proposal by the Ministry of Health to lower the eligibility age for contraceptives, saying it is a form of legitimising defilement.
Tayebwa was responding to a matter raised by Hon. Lucy Akello (FDC, Amuru District Woman Representative), who complained about a story in the Daily Monitor newspaper of Tuesday, 10 October 2023, stating that girls from the age of 15 years would access birth control pills in a new plan.
He said the proposal was not only unlawful but a sign of failure to defend young girls and prayed that it should never even be thought about.
“Our prayer is that the devil does not find a way and such thoughts should never come to the minds of our people, because it is giving up, it is formalising defilement, we are clearly saying we have failed,” Tayebwa said during plenary on Tuesday, 10 October 2023.
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Tayebwa proposed that government would rather strengthen the fight against defilement, than providing contraceptives which he said is a form of promoting the vice.
The Minister of State for Health (Primary Health Care), Hon. Margaret Muhanga Mugisa, said the Daily Monitor story was simply a proposal by the ministry’s Director for Curative Services, Dr Charles Olaro, in response to teenage pregnancies and the related deaths.
“He was only suggesting but the Daily Monitor wrote as if it was already a policy, he is a medical doctor and he was weighing options; that should we let the children get pregnant and die at birth or let them take family planning? It is not an approved policy,” Muhanga said.
She explained that the doctor was reacting to the growing teenage pregnancies where a number of underage girls die at birth with many that are married off.
Hon. Okello said the ministry would have to study the effects of contraceptives to the health of young girls, as compared to the effects of teenage pregnancies the proposal intends to cure.
“Are we are not scared of the effects the contraceptives will have on young girls including the rise in HIV infections? We need an assurance that our girls would be safe, you would need to carry out a study to find out the implication of contraceptives,” Akello said.