Health officials and local leaders in Bugisu and Bukedi sub-regions have said men are to blame for the continuous low uptake of family planning.
Dr Muhammad Mulongo, the in-charge of Muyembe Health IV in Bulambuli District, says many men have a negative attitude towards family planning methods.
“Men don’t want their women to use family planning methods because of fear of side effects. So, influencing men’s attitudes is critical to increase contraceptive use,” Dr Mulongo says.
“Family planning is a key factor in reducing poverty because the couples are able to plan the size, and spacing of their children,” he adds.
Dr Rashid Simuya, the in-charge of Kibuku Health centre IV, says there is a need for sensitisation of men on family planning usage if the country is to achieve middle income status by 2040.
Ms Juliet Kakai, a resident of Mbale District and also a mother of 10, says she was advised by medical workers at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital to start using family planning but her husband refused.
“When I shared with my husband, he refused, saying the reason he married me was to give birth to as children as many as possible,” she says.
Dr Molly Asiimire, of Reproductive Health Uganda reiterates that men have little knowledge about family planning.
Dr Moses Walakira, the family planning programme specialist at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), also acknowledges that there is overall limited awareness regarding the specific role of men in reproductive health.
Dr Walakira says overall, 39 per cent of currently married women are using a method of family planning. And among sexually active unmarried women, 51 per cent are using a contraceptive method.