Commitment on population won through Ugandan grassroots advocacy

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The Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed the long awaited National Population Council bill last week as a sign of commitment to increase support for family planning and reproductive health issues in the country. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Member Association, Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) played a major role in bringing together Uganda’s Members of Parliament, key sector Ministries and Civil Society to convince Government to move forward with the bill to improve the quality of services and people’s lives in Uganda.

RHU has been advocating for the bill to be passed by parliament and signed into law since 2012. It will create a new government body - National Population Council - which builds on the work of the current Population Secretariat allowing for greater decision making and funding to be directed to national reproductive health, family planning and population issues.

IPPF Regional Director for Africa, Lucien Kouakou, said on hearing that the Ugandan President had signed the bill: “This is great news and a good achievement, meaning that the tireless and collective advocacy efforts of sexual and reproductive health and rights local players in Uganda, including our Member Association, RHU, has paid off. We do hope that other countries will follow”.

Executive Director for Reproductive Health Uganda, Jackson Chekweko said on RHU’s efforts: “This is a great milestone for Uganda. This recognition means that the Government wants to progress and has listened to our advocacy. It is through RHU’s targeted advocacy towards Uganda’s legislators working closely with Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians (NAWMP) whose chair is also the President of RHU.  RHU also worked closely with the Population Secretariat and Partners in Population and Development, Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO) with support from Advanced Family Planning to turn this advocacy into a concrete result to improve the lives of Ugandan people.”

National advocacy efforts were strengthened through the Advanced Family Planning (AFP) initiative which focused on building the advocacy capacity and developing a strategy with Reproductive Health Uganda, the Government and partners to push forward the debate on the National Population Council bill and move it through Parliament.