Access to family planning is limited in Uganda and the contraceptive prevalence rate stands at only 30%. In remote communities, the situation is far starker and most women rely on mobile clinics or Village Health Teams (VHT) to manage their sexual and reproductive health. Now, as a result of the reintroduction of the Global Gag Rule, many of these services are now facing funding cuts and thousands of women, like Grace, have been put at risk.
Grace is 28 and lives wither husband and 4 children in Kalela, a small village in the Kabarole district of Uganda.
Grace and her husband are farmers, growing just enough food to feed themselves and their children. Already a mother of 4, Grace is struggling to provide for her family and is fearful of becoming pregnant. “I cannot take good care of a big family, we are struggling with the four children we have” she explains.
Grace is now receiving a quarterly contraceptive called Sayana Press, through one of Reproductive Health Uganda’s mobile clinics. This is allowing her to manage her reproductive health and helping her to plan and support her family
“Previously I was using pills and depo, but I stopped because of the side effects. Then I would fall pregnant. With Sayana Press, I don’t see myself having another child, I cannot take good care of a large family”
Akiiki Jemimah Mutooro is a volunteer who works as a village health team member, in Kijura parish, Hakibaale. As a village health team member, Akiiki provides counselling and family planning services to her local community.
“I give Sayana Press injections to between 30 and 50 women every month. Some I find in their homes and others will come to my home”.
According to Akiiki, without funding from RHU, women in her region will lose access to contraception
“Most of the contraceptives we provide are provided by RHU” she says “Women will walk for many miles to a health clinic and find that they cannot provide the services… So if we are unable to continue this service, many women will lose out”
By removing access to family planning services, it is inevitable that unplanned pregnancies will increase, leaving women like Grace with few options available to them.