On Wednesday 13th October 2021 Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) successfully conducted a health worker training in Moroto district at Lavender Inn. 14 health workers representing 13 health facilities were in attendance and participated in refresher training on communications, counseling, and provision of quality sexual and reproductive health services at their respective facilities.

It was strongly highlighted that in Karamoja region, the prevalence of teenage pregnancies is a result of defilement/rape and early/child marriages. In fact, Robert, a young person from Rupa sub-county reported that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the young people have been married off and that there may be no students when the schools are reopened.

Moroto has magnificent hills/mountains that harbor the Tapec tribe. This area was identified as a hotspot for early/child marriages and teenage pregnancies.

The capacity building workshop for health workers was followed by 3 young mothers forums, an initiative to reach young people with issues of safe motherhood, and access to quality sexual and reproductive health services at their respective facilities. The YMFs were held at DMO’s HC III, St.Pius Kidepo HC III, Rupa HC II and were attended by 183 young people between the ages of 14- 22 years, 133 girls and 50 boys.

An intergenerational district-based dialogue with policymakers and other key stakeholders like religious and cultural leaders, young people, health workers, political leaders, law enforcement and security, and CSOs followed the YMFs to create a platform to address key issues that arose in the health worker training and the respective YMFs.

During the session, a few young people shared their experiences as teenage mothers and the reality that befell them as a result. Gladys Agwang Akais mentioned that in her case, she thought she had found The One but was reawakened to reality when he insisted she aborts the pregnancy the moment he was in the know.

The Biostatistician, Max Ben, shared the current statistics that indicate an increase in antenatal visits in 2021 (14.7%) compared to 2020 (14.4%), young people 10-19 years are actively accessing male condoms at the respective health facilities, and only 4 maternal deaths were reported to have occurred among young people aged 25-49 in the last 2 years within Moroto District.

At the end of the dialogue, the DPC, Edson Turyomwe committed to handling all SRHR cases reported to Police with due diligence. The RDC, Kayizi Asanasio also pledged to work with teachers and parents to see that the rights of young people are upheld.