Female students in Uganda have called upon the government to provide them with contraceptives as they are very sexually active to prevent unwanted pregnancy. They also highlighted the other problems that they face as students including lack of pads, water shortage, defilement and other forms of sexual harassment.
“Some female students are very sexually active, so my appeal to the ministry is to give them contraceptives and condoms to avoid getting pregnant and remain in school,” said a senior female student during a dialogue to mark the International Youth Day at Makerere University.
International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 every year to recognise efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society. This year’s theme was Transforming education with highlights on different efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all the youth.
However, a senior education officer, guidance and counselling/ assistant coordinator health- HIV unit Mr Henry Semakula, informed them that the ministry’s policy cannot allow students to use contraceptives, but is working on a possible remedy to the health challenges. That the pending school health policy if passed will solve the majority of reproductive health issues that the students grapple with.
“The ministry can’t allow that. We are fond of doing the right things, at the right time, place and for the right people. What you are asking is much under the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Education is working to have the remaining processes of finalising the policy as fast as possible and it’s believed that it will be a remedy to the numerous health challenges that young people face in school today,” he said.
Uganda has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa with more than 25 per cent pregnancies among teenagers registered every year. A good number of the speakers in the International Youth Day called upon the government to invest in sexual reproductive health and rights of the youth which is a sure way of transforming the education sector.