Legislators want the plan by Government to supply contraceptives to pupils in schools in a bid to curb teenage pregnancies halted, until guidelines are issued about the plan.
The call came up on the floor of Parliament after Molly Lanyero, the Lamwo district Woman MP, questioned the motive by Government to give contraceptives to pupils as young as 10 years without stipulating out the guidelines.
Citing the National Guideline and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproduction Health and Rights in Parliament that was launched by the Ministry of Health, Lanyero noted that the document had glaring flaws and requested to have the document blocked.
Lanyero described the proposal to issue contraceptives to children in schools as ‘selfish, immoral and ungodly’.
“I have discovered many issues with the document. The target groups specified in the document is 10 and I wonder if okaying the use of contraceptives in schools is right. In rural settings, at the age of 10 most kids are in primary 2 or 3. Have we lowered the age of consent to 10 or 15,” she said
She questioned of the Ministry took into consideration the hormonal effects that comes with consumption of contraceptives, arguing that at that stage, the children are not in position to make informed decisions and should not be subjected to making decisions of using contraceptives at teenage age.
“What about the hormonal effects that come with the use of contraceptives, even adult women have side effects. Are we prepared to help them manage side effects of contraceptives?” Lanyero asked.
The Lamwo district legislator was also left angered by the proposal in the document to open room for teenage abortions within the first 28 weeks after conceiving.
“At the early age where are we taking the children? Where is the direction for the young? What do we want to get from the children? Is the Ministry of Health indirectly legalising abortion? Do we want to deny the rights of the unborn to be born,” a bitter Lanyero asked.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga backed Lanyero and tasked the Ministry of Health to explain in whose interest the guidelines were issued. She also urged Government to be vigilant about the reading materials that come into the country.
The Speaker cited an example of a book that made its way in the country, encouraging children to embrace homosexuality.
“We are not good at scrutinizing books. In the last session, a book encouraging Ugandans to be homosexuals from a young age was found to be circulating on the market. We need to evaluate what comes to our country and what students are studying,” Kadaga remarked.
Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health disowned the document revealing that the book was prepared for the launch without the knowledge of top Ministry officials.
The Minister revealed that the book had no single signatures from the Ministry and the signatures on the document were from acting individuals at the MOH.
“Since we stopped the launch of the document, we have been investigating it and the book hadn’t gone through the approval process of the Ministry. We shall take action on the book and make collective measures in accordance with the law,” said Aceng