Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | A recent study indicates significant progress for women in Uganda over the past five years. Women are now more likely to use contraceptives, opt for health facility deliveries, and are less prone to experiencing gender-based violence. The positive outcomes are credited to initiatives like the Joint Programme on gender-based violence (GBV) and existing efforts to address GBV and promote Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) in the country.
Funded by the Government of Sweden from 2018 to 2023, the five-year project aimed to contribute to eliminating GBV and improving Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for women, men, girls, and boys, especially in disadvantaged populations. Despite widespread GBV affecting people regardless of their social, economic, and political status, the study, based on Uganda Demographic and Health Surveys (UDHS) from 2016 to 2022, reveals positive trends.
The UDHS 2022 results show a 2% increase in contraceptive use among women, a 19% increase in 4th Antenatal Clinic Visits, an 11% rise in health facility deliveries, a 1.7% decrease in sexual violence in the last 12 months, and a 0.2% decline in the fertility rate compared to 2016.
The United Nations Joint Programme On Gender-Based Violence Integrating SRH has played a vital role, creating an environment conducive to eliminating GBV and improving SRHR. This includes improved legal and policy frameworks, reduced social tolerance for GBV, increased utilization of integrated services, and strengthened coordination in target districts.
While progress is acknowledged, there’s a call to double efforts to eliminate gender-based violence and enhance sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, Maria Håkansson, emphasized the Swedish government’s commitment, investing over Shs16 billion in the project to address gender-based violence, a severe manifestation of unequal gender relations. The study reflects a comprehensive approach to address challenges and promote gender equality, with ongoing efforts by various stakeholders, including the government, UNFPA, UN Women, and implementing partners. Areas of concern for adolescents and young people, particularly in addressing teenage pregnancies and child marriages, were also highlighted. Minister of State for Disability Affairs, Hellen Grace Asamo, commended the collaborative efforts and underscored the importance of locally-driven solutions for sustained progress in fighting gender-based violence.
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