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UGANDA: Population to hit 55M by 2025

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State Minister for Youth & Children Affairs Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi (2nd left) launching the population growth control programme at Serena hotel. Photo: UNFPA

Uganda’s population likely to hit 55 million by 2025, gov’t worried

KAMPALA (THE OBSERVER) – In less than eight years, Uganda’s population will hit 55 million going by the current fertility and population growth rates.

But this rapid population growth rate of 3.4 per annum, will only worsen country’s socio economic problems the permanent secretary ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Dorcas Okalany has warned.

“With such enormous population increase is exerting pressure on land, the old rules are no longer sufficient to maintain cordial relations between owners and users of land,” she said.

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Okalany was speaking on Wednesday, March 7 during the launch of stakeholders’ engagement workshop and launch of Support to Address Uganda’s Population Challenge and Improve Family Planning Uptake Programme by UNFPA at Kampala Serena hotel.

The five year programme will see the UNFPA provide $4 million (about Shs 14 billion) to the Ugandan government to address the population growth challenges and increase family planning services uptake.

Okalany said, due to the high population, families have now shifted from rural to urban areas, gradually increasing the proportion of people living in urban areas, which has led to creation of slums and inadequate provision of social services.

“Some of the socio-economic problems include land fragmentation, low agricultural productivity, family related land disputes, loss of forest cover, environmental degradation and encroachment on critical key ecological systems,” she said.

“The slums are characterised with substandard and unhealthy neighbourhoods that that are usually overcrowded and have limited access to basic services like water, electricity, health facilities and others.

“The problems associated with high fertility rates include rapid urbanisation, urban poverty, poor waste management, unemployment, environmental degradation, urban insecurity, inadequate urban infrastructure, inadequate transportation and inadequate financing,” Okalany added.

She said the challenges associated with high fertility rates also lead to inadequate housing, overcrowding and increased poverty and this leads to some interventions to control our population such as family planning services.

“It is on this basis that my ministry supports family planning interventions to reduce or control family sizes. Most land owners especially on customary land consist of big families. As government issues them with certificates of customary ownership explaining the benefits of smaller families and sharing of benefits,” Okalany said.

Large family sizes are associated with land degradation and unsustainable use of land, said Okalany – the reason why the Lands ministry is to going introduce and regulate family use of communal lands to control degradation and provide guidelines on the use of land by families.

“80 per cent of land in Uganda falls under the customary land tenure system. My ministry shall engage families of customary land owners to encourage them to allocate girls land to be able to produce and earn income from the family land other than marrying them off early expecting that they can acquire land from their husband’s family,” she said.

UNFPA country representative Alain Sibenaler says Uganda which has a current population of 38 million, still has the fastest population growth in the world at 3 per annum yet it has a high dependency rate and a burden child dependency where 48 per cent are below 15 years.

“The high population rate in Uganda is due to early age marriages where some Ugandans are married at the age of 18, and this leads teenage pregnancies. And among married couples, 28 per cent would like to use modern family planning methods but don’t have access to them,” he said.

He added that the launched population programme has four components aimed at health system strengthening to address gaps in quality of service provision, increase coverage of health service, social behaviour change communication messages for targeted groups and promote positive leadership on family planning issues.

The minister of State for Housing Dr Chris Baryomunsi said, the problem of our population in Africa and Uganda inclusive, people believe in having many children.

“It’s our duty to tell people to have manageable family sizes to get quality services such as education, health, housing and others. Countries like Tunisia have succeeded in bringing down population to empower young people in education skills, technology and create employment opportunities for the development of their country,” he said.

UK gives Shs14b to Uganda for family planning

DAILY MONITOR – The UK government has donated $4million (about 14.4bn) to Uganda through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to improve family planning uptake and also address the population challenges.
The new five-year programme is aimed at adopting a multi-sectoral approach to adolescent sexual and health and reproductive health and rights indoor to increase access to age appropriate sexuality information and services.
It is also intended to strengthen the health system for effective, efficient, equitable and sustainable family planning services to the high burden and hard to reach populations including humanitarian settings.

Ms Jennie Barugh, the head of the UK’s Department for International Development in Uganda, said UKaid will address the key drivers of Uganda’s population challenges, including low level of education, especially among girls, harmful practices such as child marriage, gender based violence and teenage pregnancy, among other issues.
“Working with the government of Uganda to develop its human capital and unleash the potential of its young population is a top priority for the UK government,’ Ms Barugh said, adding that her government will work with all its partners to tackle some of the key drivers of Uganda’s population like fertility.

Mr Alain Sibenaler, the UNFPA Representative, said the support by the UK government is very strategic in helping women and girls to become more empowered to contribute to socio-economic transformation.
“Family planning gives women and couples choice that, in turn, opens up larger possibilities and adds quality to their lives,” said Mr Sibenaler.
The State minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Ms Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, who represented the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda at the launch of the programme on Wednesday, indicated that the donation of Shs14.4billion will boost the Uganda’s realization of commitments that were made at the London Summit in 2017.

“At the London Summit , we renewed our commitment to advance family planning and revised the country’s targets to; reduce unmet need for family planning from 28 per cent and; increase modern contraceptives prevalence rate among all women to 50 per cent by 2020,” said Ms Kiyingi.
She also added that government committed to allocate $5million dollars annually for procurement and distribution of health commodities including family planning supplies to the last mile.

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