The Assistant Commissioner in charge of Reproductive and Infant Health, Dr. Richard Mugahi, has commended the Uganda youth and adolescents’ health forum for coming up with an innovative app, the Pulaniki Mobile App, that seeks to break the barrier and ease access to essential SRHR services and information.

He said this while launching the mobile app recently at the UYHAF’s Bukoto office in a colorful event attended by various stakeholders, including CSO representatives, media, change champions, health workers, and young people, including university students, among others.

Dr. Richard Mugahi delivers his speech during the Pulaniki launch recently at the office

The Pulaniki mobile app, now available on Google Play, aims to increase demand and enhance uptake of essential sexual, reproductive, and maternal health services and information for the urban Ugandan population by bypassing key barriers that hinder access and uptake like stigma, discrimination, and availability.

Dr. Mugahi says, “This is the right way to go. IT drives access to health care services while also disseminating sexual and reproductive health information to young people.”

He further narrated that the COVID-19 pandemic constituted the largest global public health crisis with daunting health and socioeconomic challenges. “The pandemic has severely disrupted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services. Many Ugandans wanted to utilize SRHR services during the COVID19 lockdown, but they couldn’t; I wish the Pulaniki Mobile App had come sooner, ” he added.

The ministry of health official congratulated UYHAF upon the technological milestone and noted that “this is in line with the ministry of health’s strategy to use modern technology and innovative ways to provide health care and SRHR services and information to the population.”

Ms. Nakato Joyce, the deputy team leader of UYAHF, revealed during her opening remarks at the launch that the mobile app was conceptualized by “our team leader, Mr. Patrick Mwesigye, in 2018 as an incredible step for us and for millions of young people in Uganda who will no longer have to bear the shame and judgments in accessing essential SRHR, GBV, and MCH services.”

Ms. Joyce Nakato, the deputy team leader of UYAHF gives a brief about the pulaniki App during the launch

“We have officially launched the Pulaniki mobile platform that will go a long way in supporting and empowering the urban populations in Uganda to realize their SRHR. Our sincere and special appreciation goes to our donor, Hivos, for the financial support towards the entire process, right from inception through the development up to the completion, the technical team and consultants, the respective government ministries, and the UYHAF team for the explicit support,” Joyce added.

What the young people say about the Pulaniki Mobile app

“I am so excited about the Pulaniki App. It’s really a good innovation that is handy for us young people. Like for us girls, access to FP information and services has really been a problem” Shabela, a student at Makerere University.

“I need to show this to my colleagues at the campus. I will ask them to download it. This is so wonderful, and I am so impressed with this new app. It was always hard to walk to a pharmacy and ask for a condom, but with this we young people are sorted.”Joseph Mukibi, a student at Kyambogo University,

“Many of us don’t know much about family planning because we fear approaching a health worker to ask due to the stigma that people have about the use of family planning methods, but with the pulaniki app, I will now be able to fully read about family planning and clear the myths and misconceptions. This is really interesting and going to be helpful to many of us girls. Naluja Babrah, a young person

“The special thing about the Pulaniki app is the integration of edutainment. You know, young people are moved by entertainment. So having sports and celebrity news in there while still accessing health information is just a one-of-a-kind innovation. Thanks, UYAHF for thinking broadly and getting us young people up to this level. ” Mutebi Jerome, a student at Kampala International University