KAMPALA – The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health has recognized with different awards the role played by different implementing partners to realize positive change among adolescents.
During the National Safe Motherhood Conference at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala, the ministry awarded Naguru Teenage and Information Center as the Outstanding Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Organisation.
Ms. Doreen Tukamushaba from the ministry of health noted that the Center deserved the award because it is one of their implementing partners that support adolescent health programs at the national and sub-national levels.
“Specifically, we are working with Naguru Teenage Center to strengthen the coordination. Especially at the sub-national level, we are ensuring that we functionalize the district committees on adolescent health so that we know that they have a mandate of spearheading and implementing adolescent health programs. We know that Naguru Teenage Center is an IP that is closely working with the ministry of health to ensure that these district committees are functional.”
Mr. Sam Asiimwe from the Center noted that for the last 30 years, they have extended a range of maternal health services, especially to young people 10-24 years.
“We provide a range of services including antenatal care, HIV services, and reproductive services including STI screening and treatment. We follow up mothers to ensure they have safe deliveries and after delivery, we see them doing postnatal care to provide services including family planning because we don’t want a young person who has got an unwanted pregnancy to again get a repeat within the shortest time.”
“We got this award because of our accelerated services but we haven’t done it alone. We have had support for the last 20 years from the Swedish Embassy in Uganda. More recently, we have funding from UNFPA and all have enabled us to reach the widest audience of young people,” he added.
Mr. Asiimwe revealed that monthly across the country, the Center sees over 3000 young people who receive services from the Center directly and through their affiliated clinics.
He, however, said that they are challenged with the quality of health services and the sustainability of their programs since most of them are donor-funded.
He also decried poor access to services by young people since most of the time, they have financial challenges. On this, he says they work with networks of young people within communities whom they have trained to mobilize their peers for services.
Mr. Asiimwe called upon all the stakeholders for a collective role to improve safe motherhood by empowering, not just young people but broadly all women of reproductive age to ensure that they get the information.
“They need to know about sexual reproductive health, how to manage pregnancies when they occur, how fast to reach the health facilities because we get challenges of maternal death due to the common delays.”
Ms. Grace Okecho from the Uganda Youths and Adolescents, an Organisation which was recognized as the Best Adolescent Health Implementing Partner attributed the award to their different innovations led by the young people to resolve their own problems.
“We teach them safe motherhood things, vaccination, nutrition, hygiene, and health education. We sensitize the community to accept young mothers so that they receive that support. Those are some of the interventions that we do that have actually yielded results.”
The Ministry of Health PS – Dr. Diana Atwine called for more emphasis on human resources.
“We want to see human resource that is motivated, committed and skilled. We need to have continuous medical education; we continue adapting the new ways to improve the quality of healthcare.”
She said that Government has provided resources and increased pay but that alone won’t change the practice and culture of work.
“We need to set minimum quality standards. We need perinatal deaths to hit 99%.”