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.

Family Planning Voices: Iga Paul Jembelyambuzi, Community Mobilizer, Village Health Team, Marie Stopes International/Mubende District, Uganda

Family Planning Voices: A Tribute To World Vasectomy Day


Family Planning Voices: Iga Paul Jembelyambuzi, Community Mobilizer, Village Health Team, Marie Stopes International/Mubende District, Uganda

Iga Paul Jembelyambuzi, Community Mobilizer, Village Health Team, Marie Stopes International/Mubende District, Uganda

I have four kids. I believe family planning is a good practice, because I can handle my family well, and I can care for them. I recommend vasectomy—I’ve had one, provided by a Marie Stopes Uganda outreach, and it has allowed me to care for my family.

I try to share information about vasectomy with my community. So far this year, 10 men I’ve talked to have decided to get vasectomies. People have appreciated the option. Even just this month, I expect more people to accept the method. People who are yearning for a vasectomy range from 30 years of age on. They are eager to practice vasectomy.

If we’re going to advocate for people to accept vasectomy, they need to hear from people who have gotten a vasectomy themselves. You can’t come from far away, when you are not practicing that method, and advocate for it. It’s better for a person who has accepted a vasectomy to advocate for it.

Interviewer: Liz Futrell

Photographer: David Alexander

Interpreter: Muyanja Hosea Ssebulime



#40YearsMSI: Marie Stopes International celebrates 40 years

 Background – About MSU

Marie Stopes Uganda is the largest and most specialized private provider of SRH services. MSU delivers services through a mutually-reinforcing, multi-channel approach to maximize impact and expand access.

What is the 40 years about?

This November, Marie Stopes International will be celebrating 40 years as the world’s largest provider of  high quality and affordable Reproductive Health Services.  #40YearsMSI

MSU has remained the provider of choice of Maternal and Reproductive Health Services for Ugandan women and men.  We continue to be deeply committed to our clients and therefore continually evolve to give them the best experience, and highest standard of clinical quality.


What is MSU providing the public?

In celebration of the 40 years, MSU has decided to give back to its clients through providing free Family Planning services at all our centers on 4th and 5th November 2016.

Why Family Planning?

MSU strongly believes that Family Planning is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality.

Family planning improves the lives of women and children.  When parents space their births at least 3 years apart, children are less likely to get sick and more likely to survive beyond their 5th birthday; and women are less likely to have complications during childbirth.

Using family planning to delay the next pregnancy also allows the mother to pay attention to her children.  This is the best way to prevent accidents and injuries.  Children who are well looked after also usually eat better, are cleaner, and develop better both physically and mentally.

 What FP methods shall we be providing?

  • IUD or Coil: This is a long-term method that is effective for up to 12 years.  The coil is a small plastic T shaped wrapped with some copper wire that is inserted into a woman’s womb by a trained health worker.
  • Pills: Women can take a pill every day that contains a hormone that stops her body from releasing an egg each month.   Once she stops taking pills, her ovaries will begin releasing eggs each month again.
  • Injectables: A woman can take the same medicine that is contained in the pill through injections.  Each injection is good for 3 months.  So, the woman needs to return for an injection every 3 months.  When the woman wants to get pregnant again, she should stop the injections.
  • Implants: The same medicine that is contained in the injectables and pills in contained in 1 – 6 small plastic capsules.  A doctor or nurse inserts these capsules under the skin of a woman’s upper arm.  When the woman wants to get pregnant, she can have the implants removed.  Soon afterward, she will be able to get pregnant again.

Permanent Family Planning Methods:

  • Vasectomy: A doctor ties and cuts the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the penis.  So, the man can still perform sexually, but his semen will not have any sperm.  So, he will not be able to make a woman pregnant.
  • Tubal ligation: This is a permanent family planning method for women.  A doctor ties and cuts the tubes that carry the eggs from the ovaries to the womb.  So, when the woman has sex again, the sperm will not be able to meet with the egg.  The woman will continue to menstruate as before.  But, she will not be able to have children.

World Population Day Celebrations

Uganda will join the rest of the world to commemorate World Population day on 11th July 2016. Uganda has one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in the world; over 78% are under 30 years old. According to the State of Uganda Population Report 2012, Ugandan youth remain at a significant risk of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unwanted pregnancy.

Investing in Young people’s Sexual Reproductive Health has a direct contribution towards improving their livelihoods. This can be through availing timely Reproductive Health Information, education and services.

To mark World Population Day, Marie Stopes Uganda is conducting a community awareness drive in  Mbarara, Hoima and Kabale. The health awareness community  drive are an opportunity for the public to learn about world population day with regards to their reproductive health. MSU will also be disseminating key health promotion messages in various towns as well as offering free family planning counselling, breast cancer and blood pressure examination. Other services will be at half price at our centers on the day’s below;

Mbarara – 10th and 11th July

Hoima – 15th and 16th July

Kabale – 22nd and 23rd July

MSU  will also be conducting;

–             Community Drives  highlighting Family Planning messages.

–             Free Information Education Communication (IEC) materials on facts on the hotline, and cervical cancer.

–             Cervical cancer screening

–             And HIV testing and counselling.

–             Free physical examination by health workers.

Please call the toll free hotline on 0800220333 for more information.


Youth Friendly Spaces Launched In Centres

It is estimated that approximately only 50% of the youth do not use health facilities due to lack of youth friendly services. Many youths fear to discuss SRH issues due to stigma from the health staff, others fear to disclose their conditions to due to traditional factors.

Marie Stopes Uganda has set up 2 youth friendly spaces in Kampala and Tororo district with the aim of attracting youth to receive information and SRH services like contraceptives use, condoms and STI management. The facilities are set up in a way that promotes an atmosphere of relaxation and are fully equipped with games like table tennis, quizzes, reading materials,DSC_0187 education videos and refreshments.

The youth spaces are meant to engage youth through interaction with peer educator counselors and youth volunteers trained in providing youth friendly services.

At the youth space, learning activities on primary preventive approaches like contraceptive use to prevent unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS are done with the participation of youth themselves which allows expression of their views on issues that affect them.

This platform equips youth with correct knowledge and shapes a positive attitude towards health choices not limited to safe sex practices but also life skills and a positive shift in health seeking behaviors.

Youth Friendly spaces are a popular way of passing knowledge to youth which eventually improves their demand for SRH services and is credited most for the friendly interaction that allows active participation of both service provider and youth participants.

Marie Stopes International at 2016 Women Deliver Conference

From May 16-19, experts from around the world traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to take part in the Women Deliver conference. A delegation from Marie Stopes proudly participated in this year’s conference, sharing their knowledge at some of our sessions and running our exciting photo exhibition, “Universal access: One woman at a time.”

Thanks to the successes of Women Deliver’s three previous conferences- London (2007), Washington, DC (2010) and Kuala Lumpur (2013)- the 2016 Conference was highly anticipated. This meeting gathered world leaders, advocates, policymakers, young people, journalists and researchers across geographic regions and development sectors. Together, they demonstrated the power of putting girls and women at the forefront of development efforts. The 2016 Conference focused on the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to implement them as they relate to women and girls, with a specific focus on health. In particular, how the SDGs relate to the maternal, sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls around the world, with an emphasis on the inter-connectedness of women’s health, gender equality, education, economic empowerment and the environment.

Marie Stopes International was proud to attend the 2016 Women Deliver Conference; we are sent a delegation comprising MSI staff members from across our global partnership- Uganda, the U.S., China, Kenya, the U.K. and more.

Did you be attend Women Deliver 2016? If so, we hope that you enjoyed at our sessions and visited our photo exhibition, “Universal access: One woman at a time” at the exhibition hall C2, stand 012.

Marie Stopes Health App Challenge

App Challenge_PosterUniversity students are set to gather with tech enthusiasts at a two-day health hackathon scheduled to take place on 13th and 14th May 2016 in Kampala.

The first ever inter-university hackathon on health, specifically sexual reproductive health is being organized by Marie Stopes in conjunction with Hostalite Cyber Academy.
Young people from different universities, along with innovators, developers, partners and Marie Stopes Uganda will gather for a two-day hackathon dubbed #Hcahack.
It will be a collaborative event that aims to have the participants develop a mobile health app solution that promotes young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services.
This event will witness participants from 12 universities and they code programs and applications to meet the objectives of the hackathon. Each university will be represented by a group of four individuals.
Developers from the different universities who can code along with the association of young people who can make successful mobile application solutions are encouraged to apply.
The participants will spend 24 hours building a new mobile app. Four teams will develop the app which is designed to increase uptake of Sexual Reproductive Health Services in Uganda. On completion, each team will present a demo their project (app) to other hackers taking part in the hackathon and to an audience of over 100 local supporters gathered to hear/learn about the best app and to celebrate the launch of the top app selected.
The winning team will walk away with mega prizes in addition to 3 months incubation at the Hostalite Cyber Academy, exposure to funding from Marie Stopes Innovation fund.
“It is our duty to support, shape, encourage and help the young Innovators reach their potential.”
Powered by Marie Stopes Uganda, sponsored by Vodafone and organized by Hostalite Cyber Academy, the hackathon responds to a growing commitment to leverage information and communication technologies to empower young people, complimenting Marie Stopes Uganda’s ongoing work in the area of reproductive health.
Using methods drawn from design thinking and creative problem solving, the hackathon will encourage participants to think outside-the-box and design unconventional solutions to promote young people’s sexual reproductive health. The hackathon will follow principles of “user-centred design”, actively engaging young people in the development of solutions that are based on their real needs and experiences. After two days of designing and developing, the hackathon will conclude with a pitch session, where an expert panel of judges will select the winning app prototype(s)