KAMPALA — The Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum has released a report that highlights the fact that youth have not been considered in most of the health provision cycles.
The report dubbed Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) youth advocacy and coordination plan for Uganda is from a survey UYAHF did in the districts of Pallisa and Busia.
The rapid assessment seeks to understand the scope of youth friendly services, policy provisions and commitments in the RMNCAH investment case.
The launch that took place at Fairway Hotel in Kampala yesterday brought together various partners including youth led organizations in the RMNCAH space to discuss key issues affecting young people and forge ways forward to improve youth led advocacy in this field.
The report is a simple guide with evidence based key actions that youth can take to engage the health Ministry, the District health department, local health facilities, primary health care workers etc to ensure that reproductive, maternal health services are quality, youth friendly and serving the specific needs and aspirations of young people.
While launching the report, Dr Jesca Nsungwa Sabiiti, the Commissioner Reproductive, Maternal and Child HealthCare in the Ministry of Health said the report was done by young people explaining their challenges in health care.
She shared that the ministry has been training health workers and imploring them to find time for the youth through the Youth Friendly Centres.
“The voices from this report will be good for policy, legislation and planning to better our health provision for the youth. Most of their recommendations are to do with service delivery. Youths have to be included in the entire planning of the country and our ministry,” she said.
Ms Sabiiti added that adolescents asked to be included in the Performance based financing program. They also requested to engage all youth programs in the ministry’s activities of providing health services.
“Youth do not get knowledge on sexual education that is why teenage pregnancies have skyrocketed. They also asked us to give them emergency services. We are going to sit and forge a way forward with all the stakeholders like the gender, health, justice, education and health ministries.”
According to Charles Tumwebaze, coordinator UYAHF, they did research in Pallisa and Busia looking at teenage pregnancies and what they would do about it.
He explained that Youth (especially girls) end up dropping out of school due to lack of proper sanitary facilities especially when they are in their menstrual periods.
Tumwebaze shared that in the hospitals they visited, the facilities are also not friendly to people with disabilities.
“In our findings, we realised that 31% of the youth giving birth are under age and most of them die while giving birth. They never use family planning and the youth do not have space to provide Youth Friendly Services in the hospitals we visited. Adolescent health is low since the youth never go to hospitals.”
Sam Mubiru the coordinator of activities at Naguru Youth Health Network also shared that in their research, they found out that the hospitals they visited do not have Youth Friendly Services and the health workers there are not trained to offer youth treatment yet it is something vital.
He explained that it is not good to have youth and adults in the same line in hospitals because the latter will judge the former and deter them from coming back to the hospitals which is why the youth need their own youth doctors and peer educators placed in the youth corners in hospitals.
“Hospitals do not go to schools and communities to sensitise the youth on their health yet they are the biggest of Uganda’s population. Our plan is to engage with the Ministry of Health to train health workers to offer Youth Friendly Services. Communities, CSOs should also come on board to help the youth. We went to eight hospitals in the two districts.”