President Museveni challenges leaders on women empowerment, as birth control efforts get major boost

Thursday 12th July 2012
Department of Press and Public Relations. News. Information. Communication

President Yoweri Museveni has challenged leaders especially those from developing countries to re dedicate themselves to the social- economic transformation of their people and to addressing their reproductive health needs.

He urged them to empower women in all aspects saying all stake holders must be on board as women do not only give life but they are the backbone of the economies of the developing world.

The President said the government of Uganda is committed to ensuring that all women are enabled to exercise their family planning choices and to strengthen service delivery and the reproductive health systems in the country.

President Museveni who is accompanied by the First Lady Hon.Janet Museveni was last evening delivering his key-note address at the London Summit on Family Planning hosted by the British Prime Minister David Cameron and co-sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and United Nations Fund for Population Activity-(UNFPA).
He told participants at the meeting who included the Tanzanias’ leader Mr. Jakaya Kikwete and that of Rwanda Gen. Paul Kagame, that government will increase the current allocation for family planning supplies from USD 3.3 million per year to USD 5 million per year for the next five years and will mobilize an additional USD 5 million from External partners.
He also said the National Medical Stores will be strengthened to improve distribution of supplies to both public and private health delivery units.

This he said, was in accordance with the road map to reach Uganda’s’ goals towards the achievement of her National Development Plan. He also said that the country was making steady progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, citing reduction of poverty levels among the people, increase in life expectancy, the provision of Universal Primary and Secondary Education and promoting women development.

The summit was addressed by Presidents Jakaya Kikwete and Paul Kagame who both committed their governments’ efforts in scaling up family planning infrastructures through more resource allocation and information dissemination.

Welcoming Heads of State and other delegates to the summit, Prime Minister David Cameron said empowering woman is key to the development of a family.
He said women should be allowed and be able to decide whether, when or how many children they should have and to avoid unintended pregnancies.

"We're not talking about some kind of Western-imposed population control, forced abortion or sterilization," said Cameron. "We're not telling anyone what to do. We're giving women and girls the power to decide for themselves,” he said.

He committed over 500 million pounds between now and 2020 to the cause of family planning in order to provide affordable lifesaving contraceptive services, information and supplies in the world's poorest countries.

Mrs Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and co-sponsor of the summit said the purpose of the Foundation was to help all people around the world to live healthy and better lives adding that family planning with contraceptives helped families to determine when to have their children, enable them go to schools and live good lives and at the same time enabling women and girls avoid unwanted pregnancies.

She committed over US$500 million to Family Planning between now and 2020.
The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, (UNFPA ), Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin thanked the three Heads of State for honouring the Summit. He described President Museveni as a man full of wisdom and who led Africa in the fight against HIV/AIDS adding that the pledge to boost birth control measures is transformational for the developing world.

The measures agreed at the conference would avert an unintended pregnancy every two seconds over the next eight years and mean that 212,000 fewer women and girls would die in pregnancy or childbirth. They would also prevent 3 million babies dying in the first year of their lives and that an estimated 220 million girls and women around the world would use contraceptives if they had access to them.

The lack of contraceptives resulted in over 60 million unintended pregnancies every year, while putting women at risk of death or disability during pregnancy, as well as unsafe abortions.  According to reports in 2008, there were around 14 million births to adolescent girls in developing countries, "most often before they were physically, emotionally or economically prepared.”



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