On the 29th of September 2022 Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum, under the Power to Youth program, conducted a community outreach at Buwende secondary school playground in Buwende sub-county Busia district in commemoration of the World Contraceptive Day (WCD).
The outreach aimed at creating awareness, increasing access and uptake of contraception services and information, and addressing the myths and misconceptions of contraceptive use among parents, health workers, young people, religious leaders, cultural leaders, and local leaders.
The outreach was attended by 46 participants, including adolescent girls and boys both in and out of school, young mothers, young fathers, health workers, CSO representatives, and district officials, among others.
While opening the outreach, Norah Nakyegera, the advocacy and campaign officer at UYAHF, shared that the WCD is an annual global commemoration launched in 2007 and it centers around a vision where every pregnancy is wanted with a mission to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.
“Teenage pregnancy remains one of the most devastating reproductive health challenges and has consequences not only for the individual but also for the newborn and the children born by adolescents,” Norah stated.
Ms. Norah further pointed out that the community outreach aims to empower young people to demand for accountability and be responsible for Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights services through shared knowledge on contraceptives and to call onboard all the various actors and duty bearers to embrace the use of contraceptives as a means to reduce the high rates of untended and teenage pregnancies
While giving the opening remarks at the outreach, Sis. Babirye Esther Alitubera, the ADHO MCH Busia local government and assistant principal nursing officer Masafu general hospital in Busia district, noted that a recent survey showed that there is a continuous rise in the numbers of teenage pregnancies in Busia district despite an increase in the utilization of sexual and reproductive health services among young people aged 10 to 24 years at public health facilities in Busia district.
“The numbers have not gone down, they keep rising, for example, when we look at the statistics starting from 2016 at 29%, 2018 at 30%, during COVID-19 at 34%, and now at 38%. “This is so alarming despite the fact that young people have started seeking SRHR services,” she added.
She called upon parents and guardians to seriously take up their parenting roles, noting that some of these cases are a result of poor parental guidance on sex education and negligence of their roles in providing for their children.
During a panel discussion on young people’s access to contraceptives, Mr. Ron Osacha, the Busia district senior probation officer, mentioned that health workers should be oriented on adolescent health to ensure a safe, non-discriminative, and stigma-free approach of delivering contraceptive services to young people.
While closing the day-long vibrant engagement, the chairman LCV Buwende sub-county, Mr. Egesa Martin, encouraged the adolescent boys and young men to continuously support a girl child and carry on their responsibilities. “However much we all go to places of worship, let us not neglect the importance of contraceptive use in the fight against unintended pregnancy, and parents should support their children that have gotten pregnant and not force them into early marriage ‘’ he concluded.