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close this bookWomen and Men in Uganda - Facts and Figures 1998 (Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development - Uganda - Statistic Department Ministry of Planning and Economic Development - Uganda, 1998, 79 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMap of Uganda
View the documentUganda in Africa
View the documentForeword
View the documentAcknowledgement
View the documentHow to Read the Statistics
View the documentList of Acronyms
View the documentBasic Facts on Women and Men in Uganda
View the document1. Population
View the document2. Household and Housing Characteristics
View the document3. Health
View the document4. Education and Literacy
View the document5. Labour Force
View the document6. Decision Making
View the document7. Disability
View the document8. Poverty
View the documentStatistics for the Future

3. Health

Women's and men's health status differ substantially due to biological reasons, different life style and social and cultural practices.

Life Expectancy at Birth:

The average number of years a newborn infant can be expected to live if he or she is subjected to age-specific death rates in a given year.

Total Fertility Rate (TFR):

The average number of children a woman can bear to the end of her reproductive life (from age 15-49) assuming she is exposed to the known age pattern of fertility.

Infant Mortality Rate:

The number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1000 live births in a given year.

Maternal Mortality Rate:

The number of deaths of mothers while pregnant or within 42 days (6 weeks) of termination of pregnancy for every 100,000 live births.

3.1 Life Expectancy at Birth

Fig. 3.1: Life Expectancy at Birth

Between 1969 and 1991, Life Expectancy at birth for women increased from 47 to 50.5 years whereas that of men declined from 46 to 45.7 years (figure 3.1).

The decline in the life expectancy at birth for men could be distributed to the civil strife Uganda went through during the two decades preceding the 1991 census, in which more men than women died. However, the life expectancy at death for women has remained higher than that of men.

3.2 Mortality

3.2.1 Infant Mortality Rate

Mortality among baby girls is slightly lower than that for baby boys (Fig. 3.2). This slight difference could be attributed to biological differences, since no Ugandan culture is known to have strong sex preference norms that would lead to neglect of baby boys.

3.2.2 Maternal Mortality Rate

According to 198889 UDHS results, 500 mothers die for every 100,000 live births which increased to 506 mothers in 1995. This increase could be attributed to the AIDS epidemic and the increased cost for health services resulting from structural adjustment programs. However, the Maternal Mortality Rate is still high probably due to short birth intervals coupled with lack of health care and low levels of education of mothers.

3.3 Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy represents an incredibly high risk to the health of both the mother and the baby. Most teenagers who become mothers, lose their already low chance of continuing their education and accessing training and opportunities of paid employment.

Fig. 3.2: Infant Mortality Rate

Table 3.1 gives the proportion of women age 15-19 years who have began childbearing. Overall, 43 percent of teenagers have began childbearing. As expected, the percentage who have started the reproductive process increases with age from 8 percent among the 15 year olds to 71 percent by the age of 19, due to longer exposure to child bearing.

Table 3.1: Percentage of Women 15-19 who have Ever Borne a Child by Age.


Number of women

Began child bearing
















Source: UDHS 1995

3.4 Fertility

With greater access to education, employment and contraception, many women are choosing to marry later and have fewer children.

Fig. 3.3: Total Fertility Rate

Trends in total fertility rate (figure 3.3) show that fertility has been high and increasing from 1959 to 1989 and thereafter declined from 7.2 in 1989 to 6.9 in 1995. This could be attributed to increased education opportunities, accessibility to family planning services and increased contraceptive prevalence rate.

Table 3.2: Total Fertility Kate by Education Level

Education Level

Total Fertility Rate



No education









Source: UDHS 198889 and UDHS 1995

Analysis of fertility levels given the education background of the mother is shown in table 3.2. The effect of education on fertility is only realized after primary school level (table 3.2). This may be because women with no education tend to stick to the traditional methods of family planning for example longer breast feeding duration and separating from the husband after delivering. This practice is normally ignored by women with primary education and yet they might have not acquired enough knowledge of how to use the modern methods.

Table 3.3: Total Fertility Rate by Place of Residence

Place of Residence












Source: The 1991 Population census and UDHS 198889 and 1995

Trends in total fertility rate by place of residence show that fertility has been declining. The Total Fertility Rate is lower in the urban area compared to the rural. This could be attributed to awareness and availability of Family planning services, financial support and the higher level of education for women in the urban areas.

3.5 Birth Attendants

The type of assistance a woman receives during the birth of her child has important health consequences for both mother and child.

Figure 3.4 shows a slight decline (less than 1 percent) of births assisted by doctors nurses and midwives as well as births assisted by relativeother between 198889 and 1995. However, a very big improvement in births assisted by trained traditional birth attendants was realized in the same period. The percentage of births assisted by no onedon't know was 19.6 in 198889 and 12.1 in 1995 showing a decline. This could be attributed to the campaign for the trained birth attendants which has been going on in the recent past.

Fig. 3.4: Births Attended by Personnel

3.6 Contraceptive Use

The level of current use of family planning is one of the indicators most frequently used to assess the success of family planning program activities. It is also widely used as a measure in the analysis of the determinants of fertility.

The success of effective use of contraceptives is that it must be accepted by both women and men. However the lack of communication between wife and husband cultural and social barriers and also lack of information and education still hamper women's access to and use of contraception.

Although the use of contraceptives in Uganda is estimated at 13.4 percent, table 3.4 shows that there has been a remarkable increase in the use of contraceptives from 5.6 percent in 1988/89 to 13.4 percent in 1995. The modern method which is the most commonly used accounted for 2.7 percent in 198889 and 7.4 in 1995.

Table 3.4: Percent of all Women Currently Using a Contraceptive Method.





Not Currently Using














Source. UDHS 198889 and 1995

Note: Folk method is a method which has no scientific basis. It is mainly a belief. For example some women believe that a black string tied around the waist can prevent pregnancy.

3.7 Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a world wide health hazard affecting both women and men. Figure 3.5 gives the percent distribution of Aids cases by 5 year age groups. The data reveals that the peak age for the HIV/AIDS cases among women and men is between age 15 and 44 years respectively. While more of persons with AIDS aged 15-29 years are women, most of those aged 30 and above are men.

The multiple partners of older men coupled with the vulnerability of women who lack control over their sexuality partly explains this.

Fig. 3.5: Distribution of AIDS Cases 1993

Figure 3.6 shows that from 1993 to 1996, the number of AIDS cases among women is higher than that of men. This could be attributed to women's sexuality being controlled by men. In addition, at reporting time, it is the women who attend antenatal care and not men which leads to more data on women being captured than that for men.

Fig. 3.6: Number of AIDS Cases ('000)

The 1995 UDHS collected information on whether respondents had changed their sexual behavior in order to try to prevent AIDS and if so, in what way. Figure 3.7 shows the percentages of women and men who have adopted various ways to avoid AIDS. Results show that 36 percent of women and 11 percent of men reported that they had not changed their behaviors. This is partly because women lack control over activities related to their reproductive roles. The Figure further reveals that only 2 percent of women and 11 percent of men reported that they had began using condoms to avoid AIDS. While 53 percent of women and 55 percent of men began restricting sexual activity to one partner and 7 percent of women and 10 percent of men stopped having sex altogether. The relationships between women and men put women at a disadvantage, especially when it comes to using methods like condoms, it is almost exclusively determined by men. The practice of polygamy may also explain this finding.

Fig. 3.7: Behaviour Changes after Learning about AIDS