Uganda seeks to curb childbirth as population soars

By Godfrey Olukya
Posted on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 11:41

A Ugandan legislator has proposed to penalise Ugandans who give birth to many children, saying the unchecked population growth was outstripping the country’s resources.

Uganda has an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent, but legislators say this is too high and should be slowed down.

Parliamentarian, Peter Claver Mutuluuza called for enactment of a policy that would limit the number of children produced by Ugandans.

“We need to do something about the growing population. Due to the country’s high population growth rates there is need for the country to borrow a leaf from China where there are laws limiting couples to produce many children,” he said. 

Mutuluuza said in order to control population growth, which does not match with economic growth, a fee would be levied for all extra births.

He gave another example of Rwanda where a limit on the number of children produced ensures proper planning and better delivery of social services like education, health among others.

But other legislators proposed less drastic measures, instead calling for the promotion of family planning methods.

The Secretary General of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Food Security, Population and Development, Milton Muwuma said, “Something has to be done about the high population growth rate. The growth rate in the country is alarming and yet resources are scarce.”

He said whereas there were many women who wanted to practice family planning, they lacked the capacity to do so and that is where government should come in and help them by providing free contraceptives.

Muwuma said there is need for a comprehensive strategy to have the population growth rate reduced and that can only be done through utilising available family planning services.

“It is difficult to plan for such a fast growing population given that we have limited funds. By the way, over 50 percent of the population is under 18 year which is not productive,” Edgar Nkusi from the Uganda’s planning department said.

Reports from UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) indicate that Uganda’s population has grown to 34.5 million this year, up from 33.8 million in 2010.

The country’s population was around 24 million in 1995.

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