The government of Uganda has reasserted that it will intensify its commitment towards fulfilling the ICPD25 promise made by the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on behalf of Uganda during the historic Nairobi ICPD Summit in 2019.

During the Nairobi ICPD Summit: Uganda’s President committed to;

  1. Continue promoting Universal Access to all methods of Family Planning and reduce the unmet need for family planning from 28% to 10% by 2022.
  2. Increase financial support towards reproductive health and family planning supplies and commodities to the last mile.
  3. Annually allocate at least 10% of our maternal and child health resources to adolescent-friendly reproductive health services.
  4. Embark on educational reforms aimed at ensuring that girls enroll and stay in school, as well as scale-up investments in technical and vocational education to create employable skills and competencies relevant to the labor market.
  5. Operationalize the National Sexuality Education Policy Framework that we launched in 2018 to provide a formal national direction for sexuality education within Uganda’s schools.
  6. Ensure that different dimensions of our demographic dynamics and diversity are integrated into planning and budgeting frameworks at all levels across the country.

The reaffirmation was made by the State Minister for Primary Health Care (PHC), Hon. Bangirana Kawooya Anifa in response to young people’s demand for an update on the government’s progress on the commitments made during the Post-ICPD25 National Youth Summit 2021, which was held in December 15th, 2021, at Hotel Africana.

The State Minister for Primary Health Care (PHC), Hon. Bangirana Kawooya Anifa (Guest of honor) gives her remarks during the Post ICPD25 Nationa Youth Summit at Hotel Africana

The summit was organized by the Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) in collaboration with the Uganda National Population Council (NPC), the Ministry of Health Uganda, UNFPA Uganda, and Planned Parenthood International. It was held under the theme: “Centering young people in all efforts to fulfill the ICPD promise and achieve the 20230 SDG agenda.”

It brought together 120 young people representing various categories of adolescents, including young people living with HIV, young mothers, victims of SGBV, young people living with disabilities, refugee youths, sex workers, LGBTI, young men, and boys, among others.

The event was also attended by high-level dignitaries such as the UNFPA Country Representative, Miss. Mary Otieno, Hon. Bety Chalein, the Woman MP for Amudat and a member of the Health Committee, Dr. Betty Kyadondo from the National Population Council, Mr. Mondo Kyateka, Commissioner Youth and Children Ministry of Gender, Mr. Jacob Eyeru, Chairperson National Youth Council, and Hon. Spellanza Baguma, Board Chair of UYAHF.

According to young people, the government has made incredible progress since the ICPD Summit in Nairobi, but too many people are still being left behind, and Uganda is yet to fully reap the demographic dividend because other groups continue to lack agency, education, and access to critical health services.

Kirunda Mary, a young person, and a Change Champion at UYAHF gives a presentation on the SRHR challenges faced by the young people.

They stated that thousands of women and girls continue to die during pregnancy due to preventable causes; girls are still married off as children, and many more are subjected to female genital mutilation and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and the list of unfulfilled promises continues to grow.

During her remarks, Hon. Anifa acknowledged the challenges presented by young people and stated that the government will continue to work to mitigate them through the various ministries and development partners.

“When we see media reports and receive statistics about the rates of teenage pregnancy, SGBV, and young people’s lack of access to essential SRHR services and information, we feel the pain because we are like parents to this nation. However, we also ask for your continuous support because only by working together will we be able to achieve the 2030 SDG Agenda,” she added.

She lauded the Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum for establishing such a platform for development partners to meet with young people and assess the progress of health-related programs.

In her remarks, UNFPA Uganda country representative, Miss. Mary Otieno, urged the young people who are right bearers to read and understand the ICPD commitments and to continue holding duty bearers accountable.

During the summit, young people formed a five-member national youth steering committee for ICPD and FP2030, which will oversee the implementation of the action plan.

At the closure of the summit, Hon. Bangirana also launched the ICPD25 Youth Position Paper and recognized individuals who have played exemplary roles in advancing adolescents’ and young people’s sexual reproductive health and rights toward fulfilling the ICPD promise.