In the third and just concluded National Family Planning Conference held at Munyonyo, the religious leaders’ presence was hard to miss. It was how further in they leaned towards accepting family planning as a tool for achieving development that stood for us as Reproductive Health Uganda. Speaking on behalf of the Archbishop-elect, Samuel Stephen Kaziimba, Sheikh Ali Waiswa, Deputy Mufti, Uganda religious leaders’ council, re-affirmed this commitment.First he recognised the role and contribution of religious leaders in this noble cause of promoting health in general. He emphasized that Uganda will only attain vision 2040 by embracing family planning as a tool of development but also to encourage individual responsibility towards having children they can manage. “God expects us to be responsible for taking care of our families; have children you can take care of,” he re-echoed the voice of many pro-family planning folks. He reckoned that maternal health, child health and family planning services were peas in a pod.
The Sheikh was quick to add on how this pertinent cause could be achieved. Of that he said, “It is important to have a pool of male family planning champions. Male religious leaders being present here shows that we can be champions.” He worried however that many people have negative connotations about family planning because of the myths and misconceptions. Though policies have been drafted, implementation he worries is still wanting.
“Bring all stake holders on board, to fight the rampant cases of teenage pregnancies,” he advised. “People should avoid people giving birth too early, too soon and too often.” He also said that to do this, Uganda needed to be firm in its position. “We need to position ourselves well to achieve; the best scorer is he who positions himself well so that when chance comes they score. We need to strengthen community system,” the man of God spoke. “Come 2021, at the International Conference on Family Planning, Uganda will win the global award again.”