EAST AFRICA: EALA BILL SEEKS TO INTRODUCE CONTRACEPTIVES FOR CHILDREN

A new East African Legislative Assembly Bill is seeking to introduce contraceptives for children in member states; days after the Ministry of Health disowned a policy proposing the same for children aged 10 to 19 years in Uganda.

Once passed into a law, the Bill dubbed the "EAC Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Bill 2017," will bind the East African Community member states to provide contraceptives and abortion, among others, to all EAC citizens, including children. The states include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

According to a draft copy prepared by Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, a Rwandan representative at Eala, the law intends to prevent unwanted pregnancies, risky abortion and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/Aids and ensure quality sexual reproductive health care, education and all services for people in EAC.

"The partner states shall ensure that adolescents and young person's get access to relevant quality and youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptives and condoms," reads Section 17(2) of the proposed Bill.

Part I (2) of the proposed Bill, describes an adolescent as any person aged between 10 and 19 years.

The proposed legislation also requires member states to design and implement sexual and reproductive public education.

It also indicates that every individual has a right to choose and consent to any method of birth control, including sterilisation.

Under Section 15 (1), the Bill seeks to legalise abortion, provided that a pregnancy endangers the woman's health and life.

"The partner states shall safeguard and give effect to the reproductive rights of a woman by permitting the termination of pregnancy when in the opinion of a trained health professional," the proposed law states.

Mr Fred Mukasa Mbidde, who has just been re-elected to Eala as a Ugandan representative for a second term, said the Bill is still at the committee level and is yet to be presented to the house.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK