Youth, a force to be reckoned with in the health sector -Ministry of Health
On Friday 28th of June 2019, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) in partnership with the Ministry of Health’s Reproductive Health Division, and Action for Health (A4H) Uganda organized a high-Level Policy Stakeholder Meeting to review the implementation of adolescent and youth-related priority areas, strategic outcomes, key actions and targets of the Costed Implementation Plan for Family Planning (FP-CIP) 2015/2020 and to disseminate findings and priority actions for the Adolescent Health Landscaping report 2019.
The meeting that convened at Fairway Hotel in Kampala attracted key stakeholder and partners from government, CSOs, Private sector and development partners working towards enhancing adolescent and youth-related Family Planning interventions of the FP-CIP, working across; advocacy and accountability, service delivery, research, and funding.
During the meeting, Dr. Charles Olaro, the Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health reiterated that it is of little or no impact, rolling out services for young people without actively involving them.
Dr. Charles Olaro, director for Clinical Services at the Ministry”As Ministry of Health (Uganda), we acknowledge that we must work with civil society organizations in general but importantly, young people in particular to ensure successful implementation of the services we roll out for them, we can’t do anything for the youth and adolescents without having them involved”. Said Dr. Olaro.
To ensure effective youth-related services, Dr. Olaro said government through the Ministry of Health is working on the appropriate plans for the distribution of contraceptive services as well as analyzing the demand among youth and adolescent for family planning services across the country but requires collective efforts if the process is to be successful.
The Action for Health program’s manager, Ms. Jane Wakikona said that youth-focused organizations found the need to have review meetings of the theme hence the background for the event. She said young people need more information on their Sexual and Reproductive Health issues but challenges do exist which is witnessed by the high growth of teenage pregnancies, unmet needs for family planning services, inadequate youth-friendly services among other issues that hinder the access to Family planning spaces to young people.
Jane Wakikona, the program officer Action for Health UgandaDr. Jesica Nsungwa, the Commissioner Community Health advised that there is need to adjust in the approach of reaching out to young people in order to match-up with the current level of exposure.
“A girl should know that she can get pregnant even when she is 8 years. We need to engage the cultural and religious leaders, who have been a bit hesitant over this matter; because sexuality education even in lower school levels is something we shall not avoid”. –Says Dr Nsungwa.
Dr. Jessica Nsungwa, the Commissioner Community Health advised that there is a need to adjust the approach of reaching out to young people in order to match-up with the current level of exposure.
“A girl should know that she can get pregnant even when she is 8 years. We need to engage the cultural and religious leaders, who have been a bit hesitant over this matter; because sexuality education even in lower school levels is something we shall not avoid”. –Says Dr. Nsungwa.
Dr. Richard Mugahi, the Assistant Commissioner in his submissions emphasized that there is need to ensure evidenced-based interventions that address the challenges affecting youth and adolescents. He said efforts must be undertaken to integrate outreaches in the plans with each intervention accompanied by indicators for measuring success and must be done at all levels including schools and communities.
Some of the strategic priorities that were identified to ensure that the current gaps in family planning in Uganda are adequately addressed include: Increasing age-appropriate information, access, and use of family planning amongst young people, ages 10–24 years, Promoting and nurturing change in social and individual behaviour to address myths, misconceptions, side effects and improving acceptance and continued use of family planning to prevent unintended pregnancies, Mainstreaming and implementing of family planning policy, interventions, and delivery of services in multisectoral domains to facilitate a holistic contribution to social and economic transformation among others.