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Children petition parliament over contraceptives

A group of school children have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga seeking to block the planned distribution of contraceptives to teenagers.

The petitioners comprised children from both primary and secondary schools accompanied by officials from Family Life Network. They were drawn from Wanyange girls secondary school, Katwe primary school, Dream Africa schools, Crystal junior school, Lunda high school and Divine Child nursery school among others.

The petition follows media reports early this year that the ministry of Health intended to open access to birth control services to adolescents in order to curb unwanted pregnancies among school going children and reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga handed the petition at CHOGM grounds yesterday
According to the 2016 Health ministry's modeled HIV infections estimates, the number of new HIV/Aids infections among the youth is on the rise. Estimates show that about 9,276 of young people between 10 and 19 years are diagnosed with HIV every year; with another 3,487 new infections among children aged 0 to 14 years.

Besides this national push for contraceptives among children, there is also a proposed bill before the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) seeking to introduce contraceptives for children and teenagers aged between 10 and 19. The Bill also seeks to legalize abortion.

The EAC Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Bill 2017, if passed into law will bind the Community member states to provide contraceptives to all EAC citizens including children.

"We know who we are. We respect and value our bodies. We honor marriage and family. We choose to keep our sexuality for the right time of marriage", the children said in the petition dubbed 'Becoming a New Generation Declaration' or BANG.

Stephen Langa, the head of Family Life Network said that children did not need contraceptives but guidance and counseling. He added that children need to be encouraged to continue with their education and understand that sexuality is for adults.

"Providing contraceptives will not solve the problems of sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy and abortion but contraceptives will instead increase the problems", said Langa.

He advised government to adopt a risk avoidance strategy rather than a risk reduction strategy for the problems. Langa also appealed to Kadaga to use her powers and see a revision of laws and policies to have them comply with the Constitution, cultures, morals and aspirations of Ugandans.

Kadaga appealed to parents to dedicate time to relate, interact and guide their children despite the pressure to earn an income.

The speaker also cited a need to rethink Uganda's education system with a view of encouraging pupils and students to go for vocational training. Kadaga also referred to a debate on comprehensive sexual education from which parliament resolved that all reading materials about the subject be collected and burnt at a public function.

"We are waiting for government to inform us about these materials. We must send a signal that those books should not be read", said Kadaga.

 

Comments

0 #1 Gwok 2017-06-17 15:04
In other words "leave us alone to multiply and fill the world" , as in Genesis 1:22.
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