On April 19, 2023, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) held a national dissemination event for the Every Hour Matters (EHM) After Rape campaign pilot phase at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala. The campaign aimed to increase access to post-rape care and support services, as well as promote community awareness and prevention of sexual violence. This event brought together stakeholders from various sectors, including health, law enforcement, and civil society organizations, to discuss the importance of post-rape care services and share the impact of the campaign over the 9 months period of its pilot across seven subregions.

Mr. Aweno Norman, the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at UYAHF while giving the opening remarks expressed gratitude to the various stakeholders and partners who have made the campaign’s pilot phase a success. He emphasized the need for multi-sectoral partnerships in the second phase of the campaign.

In her keynote address, Ms. Rose Apondi, representing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reiterated the critical importance of improving access to comprehensive post-rape care services. She noted that post-rape care should encompass not only medical care but also psychosocial support, legal services, and other essential services to address the physical, emotional, and legal needs of survivors. She lauded the various partners at both monitoring and implementation levels for the positive results from the pilot phase.

During the panel discussion moderated by Ms. Bridget Jjuuko, the team leader Acts 101 Uganda, the various stakeholders shared their experiences and perspectives on post-rape care services. Ms. Asio Beatrice, a police officer from the Jinja Road Police Station in Kampala District, spoke about the challenges that police face in handling cases of rape and sexual assault, such as lack of resources and training. Nurse Nataamba Ruth, a health personnel from Lyantonde District, highlighted the need for health professionals to be trained in providing post-rape care services. Ms. Angiro Betty, a probation officer from Katakwi, emphasized the need for community members to be educated on how to provide support to survivors of rape and sexual assault. Ms. Vallery, a young person from Kampala, shared her perspective on the challenges that young people face when seeking post-rape care services.

Dr. Badru Bukenya, a senior consultant, presented findings from the pilot phase of the EHM After Rape campaign in 13 districts from the 7 sub-regions in Uganda. The findings indicated that the campaign had a positive impact on the attitudes and behaviors of gatekeepers and young people towards sexual violence and post-rape care. Dr. Bukenya suggested several recommendations, including the need for more training and support for gatekeepers, the need for continued community engagement and awareness-raising activities, and the need for increased access to post-rape care services.

The event featured breakout sessions where participants discussed various topics related to post-rape care services. Among the keynotes from the discussion include; the need for a coordinated approach to service delivery, survivor-centered care, and policies that prioritize the rights and needs of survivors of rape. The breakout sessions provided valuable insights and recommendations for improving post-rape care services in Uganda.

Additionally, several participants shared experience their experiences with access to post-rape care services. They highlighted the challenges of unfriendly healthcare providers, stigma, and knowledge gaps as key factors holding back young people from reporting. They also emphasized the importance of timely access to post-rape care services, stating that early intervention is crucial in preventing unwanted pregnancies and STIs. Participants also shared sad stories of survivors who have lost their lives due to late reporting or fear of revealing details of perpetrators.

Among the key success of the pilot campaign shared during the meeting included; Increased awareness and access to post-rape care services in the districts of implementation and increase young people’s involvement in message dissemination on the critical awareness of the provision of post-rape care services and access to services.  

Overall, the dissemination event provided a platform for stakeholders to share their experiences and insights on post-rape care services. The event generated valuable ideas and recommendations for improving service delivery, policy and legal frameworks, and survivor-centered care, which can help to ensure that survivors receive the support they need to heal and recover from the trauma of rape.