KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, has stopped a new plan crafted by Health ministry officials to allow young girls from the age of 15 to use condoms, implants, birth control pills and other family planning methods.
The Deputy Speaker who chaired the House on Tuesday, gave a livid response to a matter raised by Ms Lucy Akello, the Amuru District Woman MP, who had earlier quoted media reports and questioned the draft policy on contraceptives for girls as young as 15 years.
The Deputy Speaker warned the architects of the policy, that legalizing birth control for young girls in a God-fearing country, would be equivalent to legitimizing sexual violence in Uganda and noted that “the devil shouldn’t take hold of anyone’s thoughts to approve birth control for teenagers.”
“We pray that the devil doesn’t find his way and such thoughts should never come into the minds of our people because it is giving up,” Tayebwa said.
“That is formalizing defilement. That is clearly saying we have failed. We would rather strengthen the monitoring to ensure that we fight this vice but not legitimize it by giving such services and I am glad it isn’t yet a policy.”
In a separate interview, Mr Tayebwa advised the government to shelve the planned birth control policy and explained that; “The future of our country depends upon the wellbeing of present children. We must protect them against any form of violence and contamination. As a God-fearing nation, this is our obligation.”
Ms Akello asked the Ministry of Health to explain if the age of consent in Uganda has been lowered to 15 years from 18 and if the government is no longer scared of HIV and the effects of contraceptives on bodies of the teenagers.
“Where is that plan coming from, have you done a study to find out the implications of the contraceptives on young girls who haven’t given birth? Even I who have given birth fear those things, what of the young girls? Yes, I fear and don’t use them, I use the natural method. Can you assure us that our children are safe with this policy you are coming up with?” Akello demanded answers.
The State Minister for Primary Health, Margaret Muhanga struggled to explain the genesis of the policy whilst she claimed that the parliament that the media reports attributed to Mr. Charles Olaro, Director Curative Services at the Ministry of Health were quoted out of context and denied allegations that the Policy has been approved,
“We have so many teenage pregnancies, everyone who is sleeping with these girls knows that they are young and is defiling them, they are being married off to 65-year-old men. So, he suggested that should we lower the age of family planning to 15 years and he was asking the audience. He is a medical doctor, and he weighed the options, let the children get pregnant and die while giving birth, or let them take family planning if they can’t avoid it. Because it is in society. It was just a suggestion; it isn’t yet a policy,” Minister Muhanga said.