Uganda is losing about $112m (sh275b) every year in health care costs for not adequately investing in family planning, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has warned.
Dr. Wilfred Ochan, the UNFPA assistant representative said the costs of unplanned pregnancies and complications related to unsafe abortions were greatly affecting investment in the country’s development.
He was presenting a paper on the ‘costs and benefits of family planning’ at the national conference on population and development at Speke Resort Hotel in Kampala on Thursday.
Uganda still has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world at 435 deaths per 100,000 births, with unsafe abortion causing up to 26% of the maternal deaths.
Out of every 25 pregnant women, one faces a life time risk of pregnancy related death.
Ochan noted that although more women in Uganda are now able to practice family planning, majority still lack full access to reproductive health services, including quality contraceptive services.
“Many women bear children before they are ready to have, or more than they can care forcing them to resort to unsafe abortion,” he said.
“Contraceptive use promotes health, saves life and saves money. It is the single most strategic, high impact and low cost intervention for socio-economic development of any nation.”
He also observed that Uganda’s progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals 5 of improving maternal health and family planning through contraceptive use.
Uganda’s contraceptive use is still low at 24%, less than half of the projected target of 50% by 2050, he said.
This year sh8b was allocated for family planning in the national budget.