Girls being deprived of normal life due to no access to contraception

According to the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) survey 2020, 78 per cent of youth aged between 15 and 24 live in the rural areas and majority of them do not attend secondary school. Early marriage and early child bearing in Uganda remains high with 34 per cent of 18 -24-year-old married before age 18 and 27 per cent having their first birth by age 18, in addition to almost 32 per cent of 18 – 24-year-olds having two or more children.

Furthermore, the average age at first sex among girls residing in the rural area is 16, while age of first use of contraceptives is 23. In urban areas, the age at first sex is 17 years and the age of first use of contraceptives is 21 years. Therefore, girls in rural areas are most disadvantaged and are prone to risk due to the significant 8-year gap between first sex and first time utilisation of contraceptives. The obvious consequence is unintended pregnancies, a number of which result in unsafe abortions, increased risk of maternal mortality and morbidity. Worth noting is that early pregnancy is a key driver of early marriage and school dropout.
Sadly, these girls are being deprived of a chance to a normal life due to limited or no access to contraception.

In an era where we have witnessed progress in many sectors and many programmes geared towards equality, and bridging the rural/urban divide, it is abundantly clear that being a girl born and raised in the rural areas places one in a default disadvantaged position that will further inequality. Therefore, the question is, “are we failing our girls?” Access to modern contraceptives in Uganda is being hindered by a variety of factors, including legal barriers such as the age of consent, afford ability, availability, inadequate knowledge characterised by myths and misconceptions and the unfriendly attitude of health workers towards young people seeking SRH services. For girls and women from rural and poor backgrounds, accessibility is further hindered by poverty, community perception, limited knowledge and exposure.

Knowledge and use of contraceptives are central elements to reduce unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among young people, but it is obvious that the achievement of these goals requires a more comprehensive approach, with the development of a positive adolescent’s sexuality as a necessary component.
Evidence shows that there is a need to strengthen approaches to provide contraceptives.

Girls who are already sexually active must know about contraceptive use. This calls for ensuring affordability, availability and accessibility of these contraceptive services to give women the choice on whether or not to have a child, when and how to space child-birth as well as have control over their bodies and health. Studies have shown that sex education among adolescents plays a vital role in increasing knowledge and empowering young people, especially against unwanted pregnancy, HIV and STIs. This is contrary to the popular belief that access to SRH information will lead to promiscuity among young people. When girls and women have access to contraceptives, fewer girls drop out of school, fewer girls die giving birth and more women enter the work force.
It is critical to invest in young people through education and access to family planning information and services to seize the demographic dividend. We need to help lift the barriers preventing many women and girls from accessing contraception and empowering them with the information they need regarding their sexual reproductive health.

Therefore, as the world marks International Contraceptive Day today, the Ministry of Health, UNFPA, Uganda Family Planning Consortium and CSOs, including Marie Stopes Uganda, organised a youth conference yesterday and a National Family Planning conference starting today and ending tomorrow. The conference aims to provide a platform for young people to dialogue, share with and lobby policy makers to implement programmes that promote access to SRH information and services for young people to enable them seize opportunities to realise their potential.

Ms Kyateka is the head communications and public relations – Marie Stopes Uganda.


Marie Stopes Joins Hands To Support Youth In Sports

It was a bright Friday afternoon of the 9th.05.2017 and the nation was celebrating heroes day . Sport-s volleyball Club, with a contingent of three teams prepared to set off for the long weekend in Kumi district to take part in one of the most popular community sports event. This is was the 21st edition of Dr Aporu okol memorial international volleyball tournament.

The annual event attracts so many top flight teams in the region especially Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, DRC and Uganda. As usual the crowds to this event are always big mainly because the Ugandan teams tussling it out with other nations and the tournament was started by Dr Aporu okol one of the pioneers of Ugandan volleyball and also a native of the land so the locals feel more touched by the event.

The ladies' team ready to compete for the cup

The ladies’ team ready to compete for the cup

At exactly midday all the three teams of Sport –S volleyball clun in their MARIE STOPES and life guard t shirt set off for kumi. Through the management of MARIE STOPES and the help of one of the Club members Isaac Mulumba a captain to one of the men’s team, we had received items for the community we were visiting which included life guard t shirts, life guard condoms, MARIE STOPES reflector jackets, family planning flyers and brouchers with an aim to sensitize the Kumi masses about their reproductive health and to also make them aware about family planning. The community was informed about the toll free hotline 0800220333 which can be called throughout the week for sexual and reproductive health counsselling. You can also reach our counsellors on whatsapp +256754001503 to receive sexual reproductive health consultation.

Consequently we met Mr Okiror Steven the Chairman of boma Boda Boda stage kumi town and we gave him our agenda which he accepted and he presponded by mobilizing his members in the community. We distributed condoms and t shirts plus reflector jackets to Boda Boda men. The population was so excited about our activities and a few issues were raised like the women’s need for female condoms and also reported that their men force them to have so many unplanned pregnancies. Never the less the Drive was a success.

Back to the tournament our two teams; the ladies’ senior team and the men’s senior teams on Sunday each secured a place in the finals and as a result the ladies managed to secure silver after loosing to Vision Volleyball camp. The men were more resilient and they emerged the Winners of this year’s tournament Beating Sky volleyball club. We were awarded gold medals and a trophy.

On the awards ceremony, we still got the opportunity to distribute life guard branded T-shirt and caps among those who got was the minister of Teso affairs Hon Bety Amongin Aporu wife of the late Dr Aporu okol and also the Member of parliament kumi municipality , men in uniform and our fans were all painted with Marie stopes colors
Special thanks to our partners MARIE STOPES Uganda for dressing our teams, our administrators and our fans We look forward to more of such drives because we are always in such communities that need such services.

Jubilation after winning the cup.

Jubilation after winning the cup.


Marie Stopes Relocates the Jinja Centre

The month of August saw Marie Stopes relocate its Jinja centre from Lubas road to Kampala road. This was done in a bid to serve its clients better through ensuring accessibility and availability of the affordable contraceptive services.

The new location is located on Plot 39 Nile Garden, Kampala road and is highly visible. It is located at the zebra crossing near the Jinja nursing school.

The new location of Jinja centre on Plot 39 Nile Garden opposite Jinja Nursing School on Kampala road.

The new location of Jinja centre on Plot 39 Nile Garden opposite Jinja Nursing School on Kampala road.


During that whole week from 7-12th August, 2017, the clinic offered a number of services namely; free medical consultation, cervical cancer screening, free family planning, health education in the community and other services at a reduced price. The people of Jinja were availed with an opportunity of getting all family planning services free of charge that included switching from one method to another basing on the client’s choice.

According to a 2009 study by the Guttmacher Institute 2017, contraceptive use in Uganda averts approximately 490,000 unintended pregnancies and 150,000 induced abortions each year.

• Meeting just half of women’s unmet need would have resulted in 519,000 fewer unintended pregnancies in 2009, which in turn would have led to 152,000 fewer abortions and saved the lives of 1,600 women.

• If all unmet need for modern contraceptive methods in Uganda would have been satisfied in 2009, maternal mortality would have dropped by 40%, and unplanned births and induced abortions would have declined by about 85% that year(Guttmacher Institute 2017).

The contraceptive prevalence rate of Uganda is 26% (UDHS 2016). Eighteen percent of married women use modern methods, while 6% use a traditional method. As expected, current contraceptive use is higher among sexually active, unmarried women (54%) than among married women (24%) and, in turn, among all women (20%). The likely consequences of low CPR include rapid human population growth resulting in overpopulation, poverty, increased incidences of maternal and infant mortality.

The Marie Stopes team led by the Managing Director Dr Carole Sekimpi took part in a Corporate Social Responsibility and painted the zebra crossing which had faded and  needed an uplift in order to reduce the risk of accidents especially among the students that use that road.

Marie Stopes went further to work with a number of youth that sensitised the community on the number of services offered at the centre.

Contraceptive use among women in Jinja district has been associated with accessibility, availability, affordability and quality of contraceptive services(Tamale, Williams S, 2009).  Some of the community factors associated with contraceptive use include adequate knowledge on contraceptive methods and a perception that the contraceptive methods are effective. Among health services factors were accessibility, availability, affordability and quality of contraceptive services. we do hope that more people shall be able to access the services as a result of shifting the centre to Kampala road.

Marie Stopes has indeed done a service to the people of Jinja by bringing the affordable  services closer to the people while ensuring that the quality is paramount with no compromise.


Tamale, Williams S, 2009.  Factors associated with contraceptive use among women in jinja district. (viewed 28/8/2017)

Guttmacher Institute 2017 . Contraception and Unintended Pregnancy in Uganda (viewed 28/8/2017)

UDHS 2016  Key Indicators (viewed 28/8/2017)


URHVP is a follow up to the successful maternal health voucher scheme (Healthy life and Healthy baby) implemented in Western Uganda from 2008-2012. The project finances the demand side through use of vouchers to reduce the likelihood of out-of-pocket payment for deliveries among women in communities served by the program. The four year Ministry of Health (MOH) project kicked off in September 2015 .It is funded by the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) ,World Bank ,United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It is implemented by Marie Stopes Uganda (MSU) as the Voucher Management Agency (VMA) while BDO is the Independent Verification and Evaluation Agent (IVEA).

URHVP is  implemented in 12 districts of South Western Uganda (Mbarara, Kabale, Kanungu, Ntungamo Kiruhura, Sheema, Buhweju, Mitooma, Ibanda, Isingiro, Bushenyi, Rubirizi) and 13 districts of East and Central Uganda (Jinja, Bugiri Kamuli, Buyende, Kaliro, Luuka, Mayuge, Iganga, Namutumba, Kibuku, Tororo, Namayingo and Busia). The primary beneficiaries are the poor and vulnerable pregnant mothers resident within the catchment areas of the contracted health facilities. The contracted Voucher Service Providers (VSPs) and surrounding communities are the secondary beneficiaries.

The project overall aim is to increase access to skilled care among poor women living in rural and disadvantaged areas during pregnancy and delivery.

The project targets 3 key outputs;

  1. Support 142,400 pregnant women to deliver under skilled attendance;
  2. Out of all the vouchers purchased by pregnant women,70% are redeemed to support deliveries in a health facility;
  3. 90% of pregnant women enrolled under the project attend at least one ante natal care visit (ANC 1).

The project comprises of two components.

  • Package of Safe Delivery Services to Poor Pregnant Women.
  • Capacity Building and Project Management

The package of services consists of: four antenatal visits, safe delivery, one postnatal visit, Family Planning ,treatment and management of selected pregnancy-related medical conditions and complications (including caesarean sections), and emergency transport. The package also includes services for Elimination of HIV transmission from mother to child (eMTCT) as part of antenatal care. The VMA takes lead in implementing component one. The specified services are provided by the contracted VSPs that later submit reimbursement claims together with the appropriate voucher coupons to the VMA for settlement at the negotiated and agreed fees.

The pregnant mothers purchase vouchers at Uganda shillings (UGX) 4,000 (US$1.60) from members of Village Health Teams (VHTs) in their areas of residence. A combination of geographical targeting (based on poverty mapping) and a customized poverty grading tool is used to select eligible beneficiaries.

As at March 2017 a total of 247 health facilities were identified, assessed and contracted from both Public, Private not For Profit (PNFP) and Private for Profit (PFP) as illustrated below.

South  Western Region Eastern Region
Service Type Private (PFP/PNFP) Public Total Service Type Private (PFP/PNFP) Public Total
BEmOC 80 12 92 BEmOC 42 74 116
CEmOC 12 18 30 CEmOC 4 5 9
Total 92(75%) 30(25%) 122 Total 46(37%) 79(63%) 125

Component two supports project management functions including building national capacity to mainstream and scale up implementation of safe delivery voucher scheme in the health sector.

With the direct supervision and guidance from MoH, MSU has trained service providers (midwives) on the Basic Emergency Obstetric Care (BEmOC) package (ALARM) and Post-Partum Family planning (PPFP). The project has also trained Doctors and Anaesthetic officers in Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care (CEmOC) services.

Vouchers that Make Having a Baby Safe and Cheap for More Ugandan Women

Uganda has affordable health care for some of its poorest women.

Uganda has affordable health care for some of its poorest women.

  • A UShs4,000 (US$1) voucher covers antenatal visits, delivery, and post-natal care
  • Vouchers are intended for poorer women in two mostly rural regions of Uganda
  • Even the cost of assisted births, such as Caesareans, are covered

KANUNGU, May 30, 2017 – Anna Katushabe’s daughter came into the world in early May by Caesarean-section delivery, and so both mother and daughter spent longer than expected in Rugyeyo Community Hospital. Ordinarily, the longer stay would have been a worry for the young mother; for Anna, however, her C-section delivery cost only UShs 4,000, just over US$1.

The secret to keeping safe childbirth cheap lies in an innovative voucher programme that gives pregnant women affordable, effective medical attention. When she was four months pregnant, Anna bought a reproductive health care voucher for UShs 4,000. This gave her access to a health facility throughout her pregnancy, and she knew it would cover the delivery and medical care for six weeks after her baby’s birth as well.

Rugyeyo hospital is in Kanungu District, 260 miles (420km) from Kampala on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A normal (vaginal) birth usually costs UShs 46,000 (US$13) at the hospital, while Caesarean births cost UShs 316,000 (US$88).

Uganda was the first country in Eastern Africa to use these health vouchers, starting with a pilot programme in 2006.

Funded by KfW, the German Development Bank, the pilot project, Healthy Life, subsidised the cost of treating sexually transmitted infections. The scheme expanded in 2008, when KfW and the World Bank’s Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid gave it US$6.2 million to subsidize safe deliveries as well.

The program in south-western Uganda was very successful, helping with nearly 66,000 deliveries, 130% of its initial target. Uganda’s Ministry of Health then expanded it to other districts through its Reproductive Health Voucher Project, which was funded with US$13.3 million from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) through the Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA).


Giving birth in remoter rural areas

More than 200,000 vouchers have since been sold in 25 districts in south-western Uganda and central-eastern Uganda. Marie Stopes Uganda manages the distribution of vouchers, and a poverty-grading tool is designed to help the program reach the most vulnerable women.

The project’s objective is to increase the amount of access poorer women living in disadvantaged rural areas have to skilled medical care. It covers the cost of:

  • four antenatal visits,
  • a safe delivery under skilled supervision,
  • one postnatal visit,
  • the treatment and management of some pregnancy-related medical conditions and complications, including Caesarean-sections
  • and emergency transport.

“This program started at our facility in May 2016,” Dr. Hadus Masereka, the medical superintendent at the hospital. “About 40 out of the 50 pregnant women who have ended-up delivering by C-section since, have had vouchers.” This saved the lives of women who would have been unable to afford this expensive, often emergency, procedure. Many Ugandan women deliver their babies in sometimes less-than-ideal conditions at home.

Such new health initiatives are helping reverse Uganda’s high rates of infant and maternal mortality, with maternal mortality falling from 438 to 336 deaths for 100,000 live births between 2011 and 2016, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Infant mortality has also fallen from 432 deaths to 54 per 1000 live births.

The voucher system shows that with a little money and innovation, the process of giving life does not have to be a matter of life and death for Ugandan mothers like Anna. By the end of March 2017, the project had provided help for more than 43,000 births, including 31,000 normal deliveries, 6,500 assisted deliveries, and 5,600 C-sections.

In some areas, the system has also reduced the burden public health care facilities face when it comes to childbirth care, because vouchers have made private, for-profit health centres accessible to women.

About the Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Project

The Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Project increases skilled medical care during pregnancy and delivery for poor women living in rural and disadvantaged areas.


By Rose Mahoro

Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) is an essential component of the universal right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other international human rights conventions, declarations, and consensus agreements.

Globally, most people become sexually active before their 20th birthday and according to the data from the Demographics and Health Survey, the median age of young people in Uganda having their first sexual experience is 16.4 years thus an alarming increase in teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions. According to the data collected from Naguru Teenage Information Health Center, 64% of the clinical problems at the facility were related to STIs management. No wonder, early this year (2017), Uganda Aids Commission released a disquieting report saying 500 girls get HIV infection every week in Uganda.

This plague should be caused by scant knowledge about contraceptives and HIV and AIDS, increasing immorality among young people since social and cultural norms have largely prohibited teachers, parents and children from discussing sex, mistrust between the youth and the service providers which impairs access to youth friendly services.

The ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) tabled a shocking motion to ban comprehensive sexual education in schools which was a blow to activists who have been advocating for a more holistic sex education and a more open dialogue about sexual reproductive health that covers the psychological and emotional aspects of adolescents and helping them make more informed decisions.

Although this is happening, we shouldn’t forget Uganda’s successful response to HIV/AIDS and for this reason, it was held as a model for other countries. The government of Uganda also registered a tremendous achievement for young people in the field of SRHR by adopting policies that created an environment supportive of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. International and national organizations such as RHU, UHMG, Reach a Hand and Marie Stopes Uganda have come up with programs and interventions aimed at behavior change, advocacy and service delivery for adolescents.

Among the interventions, Marie Stopes Uganda launched SRH Ambassadors program for young people ages 18-25 years where they are trained on Sexual Reproductive Health and leadership roles to help them reach their fellow young people in and out of school who may be in need of SRH knowledge and information, refer them to appropriate facilities and empower them to make informed decisions.

In Addition, Marie Stopes Uganda runs a toll free line 0800220333. This helpline is adequately equipped to provide free and friendly counseling, information giving and referrals on SRH related matters to both female and male adolescents in a confidential manner.

Therefore, gender and human rights should be placed at the heart of sex education, service providers should be trained in providing youth friendly services, NGOs through the government should come up with interventions to increase access of free youth friendly services, stake holders, parents and children should as well work hand in hand to have a better Sexual Reproductive Health.

Urinary Tract Infections: 9 Things You Can Do To Prevent UTIs

Ever sat down on the toilet and felt a searing, burning pain when you tried to urinate? It may also have felt like you couldn’t properly empty your bladder – hardly surprising when it feels like you’re pushing razor blades out of your urethra!

What you experienced was a urinary tract infection (UTI), and some experts say that as many as 50% of women will experience at least one UTI in her lifetime.

What is a UTI, what causes it and what are the symptoms?

A urinary tract infection is an infection in any part of the urinary system, or the urethra, bladder or kidneys. It’s usually caused by bacteria (like e-coli) from the large intestine travelling from the anus to the urethra. This is the primary reason women are taught to wipe from front to back, which limits the risk of contamination.

Once a UTI sets in, it can travel to the bladder and even the kidneys if left untreated, and it can cause serious damage if ignored.

The symptoms of a UTI include:

  • A burning sensation when you urinate
  • Increased urge to urinate, even though very little urine comes out when you go
  • Dark, cloudy or strange-smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or dizziness
  • Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
  • Feeling tired or shaky
  • Feeling fevery (which is a sign that the infection may have spread to your kidneys)

9 Ways to help prevent a UTI

Whether you’ve had one, none or countless UTIs, there are several things you can do to help reduce your chances of contracting an infection – even if you’re in a high-risk category (like if you’re diabetic or menopausal, for example).

You should always:

  • Drink enough fluids to help flush out your bladder regularly (most UTIs are caused by bacteria that’s already in the bladder but allowed to multiply to unhealthy levels. Regular urination helps prevent this build-up).
  • Always empty your bladder after sex, as sexual activity can cause harmful bacteria to travel into your urethra.
  • Never hold it in if you need to urinate.
  • Wipe from front to back after you’ve urinated.
  • Avoid feminine hygiene products as these kill both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria helps fight the germs that cause UTIs.
  • If you’re prone to UTIs, avoid bathing – stick to showers instead.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Include probiotics in your diet.
  • Always change out of wet or sweaty underwear right away, like after swimming or exercising.

Visit Marie Stopes for your next women’s wellness check-up

Whether you suspect you may have a UTI or you simply want to make sure you’re in the best possible health, pop into your nearest Marie Stopes centre for your annual women’s wellness check up. And, if you have any of the symptoms listed above, get to your doctor, gynae or clinic right away.

Find your nearest Marie Stopes centre or call our toll free hotline 0800220333 now.

Maternal health voucher initiative opens doors for safe deliveries

“I feel so happy that I was able to deliver my baby safely. I received good care and attention from the health workers here; my baby and I were in good hands,” says Alice Nalubwama from her bed in the maternity ward at Kamuli Mission Hospital in Eastern Uganda. “When I was referred here from the clinic I was worried because I felt my baby was in danger. But the doctors here helped me and I delivered safely.” The 24 year old delivered her fourth child by caesarean section. With her new born in her arms and her mother by her side, she smiles broadly as a midwife conducts a ward round checking on Nalubwama and other new mothers.

What may sound like a routine and ordinary event is often not the case for women like Nalubwama in many parts of Uganda. Even though the recently released Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) shows that about 7 out of 10 women now deliver with the help of a skilled professional, there are still pockets of inequality especially in rural areas. There, having a baby is not always an easy journey and for many women the costs involved are a prohibitive factor; many end up delivering at home or with unqualified birth attendants who cannot handle complicated deliveries.

With her first three children, Nalubwama says she and her husband, who are peasant farmers, had to use up all their savings so that she could attend ante-natal care and deliver at a private clinic near her home.

As a way to address the challenges faced by women like Nalubwama, a new initiative, the Maternal Health Voucher Scheme was introduced. The Scheme is one component of the Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health Country Engagement plan, implemented by UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF. One of the objectives is to ensure availability and utilization of high impact maternal health interventions at birth and during the postnatal period. The beneficiaries include women and men in 30 districts where maternal mortality is still high and access to good quality services for women during pregnancy and delivery is still a challenge.

In eight districts in Eastern Uganda, UNFPA supports partner Marie Stopes Uganda to implement the Maternal Health Voucher scheme. Rolled out in June 2016, the initiative is implemented in 100 public and private health facilities that are accredited by Marie Stopes to provide maternal health services. The scheme works through a network of 200 trained volunteer health workers (Village Health Teams) who are a critical link to the health system. The VHTS identify needy prospective mothers and sell them vouchers at 4,000 shillings. (About $1). They also provide information to pregnant women on the importance of attending at least four ante natal care visits and delivering at a health facility.

The voucher card allows the mother to access services throughout pregnancy and delivery, with just one single payment. Once a mother buys the voucher she is entitled to four ante-natal care visits, delivery under the care of a skilled health professional and post-natal care. For women who develop complications, an ambulance is available to ensure there are no delays in getting them to a higher level facility where they can receive more specialised care.

This is exactly what happened in Nalubwama’s case. At the Health Centre III where she was originally meant to have her baby, the health workers were concerned that her labour was not progressing well. “The midwife said that my contractions were weak and that I may not be able to push the baby out. I was so worried; I did not know what would happen next,” Nalubwama recalls.

Realising that she might need a caesarean section the health workers quickly referred her by ambulance to the bigger and better equipped Kamuli Mission Hospital where the caesarean section was performed. Ordinarily the operation would have cost about 500,000 shillings, not counting the cost of transport to the hospital. Nalubwama and her family paid nothing.

For Dr Andrew Muleledhu, the Medical Superintendent of Kamuli Mission Hospital, the fact that Nalubwama and others like her are able to access such services is testament to the power of the Voucher Scheme. “At the heart of it the voucher system is addressing poverty. That voucher is money in the hands of the mother. It is preventing this mother and her family from going into financial catastrophe simply because they are having a baby. That is universal health coverage at its best,” he says.

Sister Jane Nelima a midwife at Mayuge Health Centre III one of the facilities where the Voucher Scheme operates could not agree more. She explains that as a midwife she is happy that with the Voucher Scheme she is able to see more mothers coming to the ante natal care clinic and coming back to deliver at the facility.

To date, 1,939 women in the eight districts where the Voucher Scheme is implemented have been supported to deliver at a health facility, attended to by trained and skilled health workers. A total of 14,999 vouchers have been sold, meaning that many more mothers will be receiving critical maternal health care in months to come.

As for Nalubwama, the only thing that could top her experience of having a safe delivery was the thought of getting back home to her husband and other children and introducing the new addition to the family.

– See more at: here

HPV And Cervical Cancer: The Importance Of Pap Smears


The topic of pap smears, HPV and cervical cancer is relevant to any woman who is 21 or older, so if that’s you – or your partner, friends, siblings or the women in your community – listen up and help spread the word.

Cervical cancer is one of the most common and deadliest forms of the disease, but unlike other types of cancer, it can be detected early and treated –and in some cases, even prevented before it happens. That’s where pap smears come in.

What is a pap smear?

A pap smear is a quick, simple and relatively painless procedure that can safeguard you against cervical cancer. It’s a test that doctors perform to check for the presence of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells in the cervix. When performed regularly, it’s a form of preventative healthcare as it can detect the presence of unhealthy cells before they have the chance to develop into cancer.

Pap smears take just a couple of minutes and can be performed by your gynae, or at a clinic. They’re not particularly uncomfortable, though every woman experiences them differently. Some women feel nothing at all, and other women report a little discomfort.

If a pap smear detects abnormal cells, those cells can easily be removed from the cervix before they result in cancer.

Do I need a pap smear?

Yes, if you are a woman who is 21 years of age or older. All adult women should undergo regular pap smears.

How often should I have a pap smear?

If the results of your first pap smear are normal, it’s recommended you go every three years. For women who have abnormal results, more regular testing may be required. Your doctor, clinic or gynae will advise you on how often you should be having a pap smear.

What’s the link between HPV and cervical cancer?

In the vast majority of cases, cervical cancer is caused by high-risk strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a form of sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is extremely common.

In some women, this STI is contracted and then suppressed by the immune system, causing only temporary changes to the cells in the cervix. This explains why some women have abnormal pap smear results, but normal results six months or a year later.

In other cases, HPV can be persistent and eventually lead to pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Pap smears will test for abnormal cells, and if follow-up pap smears still detect these abnormalities, a simple procedure can be performed to remove the threat.

Where can I go for a pap smear?

A pap smear can be performed by your gynae or at any Marie Stopes centre across Uganda. Visit your most convenient Marie Stopes centre, and you’ll also be able to chat to us about your contraceptive options, get screened for STIs and HIV, and get personalised sexual healthcare advice.

Find your closest Marie Stopes centre or call our toll free hotline 0800220333 now and speak to our trained counselors.