Orientation Meeting For The Mbale Change Champions


Some of the Mbale change champions enjoying board games.

During the COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place to curb down, the spread of the virus young people and adolescents highlighted several challenges they faced during the total lockdown. One of the challenges they shared was the lack of SRHR information and services, although we couldn’t freely move to the communities to carry out our regular outreaches, the young people in the Eastern youth network which is chaired by Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum provided door to door services and information. This was greatly appreciated by the people in the community and the office of the DHO.  On 8th December 2020, an open call for change champions in the Eastern region was circulated on various platforms and the call had many young people respond to this call and the selection was done.

After the selection there was a need to orientation the selected change champions on their mandate, vision, and goal of UYAHF, get their commitment to the tasks that lie ahead, create a safe space to dialogue, and learn from one another. On 8th January 2021, the orientation meeting was organized at the UYAHF Adolescent Health clinic in Mbale district and was attended by 20 (F 13, M 7) young people.

Mr. Mwesigye Patrick team leader of UYAHF took the selected change champions through their role as change champions such as; challenging negative social norms that undermine the dignity of women and girls and increase their risk to sexual and gender-based violence, challenging stigma and demystify myths and misconceptions around family planning, advocating for an end to HIV by promoting the adoption of safe sexual behaviors, being dynamic, enthusiastic and passionate young people who are committed to taking action that brings positive change among others. Patrick called upon change champions to take advantage of the youth hub activities like games for recreation, entrepreneurship classes, SRHR discussions, and the young mother’s forum among others. In his closing remarks, Patrick emphasized getting change champion leaders to ease the planning and implementation of activities.

Sam the clinic in-charge presented the Mbale  UYAHF Adolescent Clinic to the change champions and added that UYAHF strives to achieve its vision through the clinic. UYAHF set up an Adolescent health clinic in December in Mbale district, whose overall goal is;

GOAL/VISION: To be a leading center of excellence for quality, rights-based adolescent-friendly health care services, wellbeing, and research in Eastern Uganda and Uganda large.

MISSION: To ensure equity of access to appropriate, quality, and cost-effective adolescent-friendly health services to all young people in our community.

The clinic’s commitment is hinged on UYAHF’s passion to protect and improve the health and well-being of adolescents including enhancing their demand, access, and uptake of quality sexual reproductive health services and SGBV support services.

The objectives of the clinic;

  • To provide adolescents with access to essential health services in an adolescent-friendly environment, including appropriate location, appropriate standards of care, privacy and confidentiality, affordable services, flexibility, availability of appropriate Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, effective partnerships, and involvement of the adolescents in policy formulation
  • To provide adolescents integrated quality sexual reproductive health services that meet the needs of adolescents.
  • To build demand and enhance access to quality adolescent health services
  • Raise public awareness on young people’s rights to access essential health care services

The standard package of health services offered by UYAHF adolescent Health Clinic includes;

peer counselling, education, and referrals for common health problems, screening, and testing for STIs, voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV, family planning services and MCH services including PAC, diagnosis, and counselling for common health conditions, school health, and nutrition programs, facilitate private and convenient access to health service providers within the health facilities, SGBV support services, entrepreneurship, and skills development services of victims of SGBV among others.

In this respect, our service package takes into account the following key adolescent needs

  •  Easy access to health facilities and services, with minimal physical barriers;
  • Health services that are convenient, appropriate, comprehensive, and integrated, providing for continuity of care;
  • Assured privacy and confidentiality of services, with no or minimal requirement of parental consent; and cost-effectiveness, with either free or highly subsidized health services. The packages of health services offered to adolescents should therefore be adolescent-friendly.

By the end of the orientation meeting, the change champions had elected 4 leader’s chairperson Kairaya Edith, vice-chairperson Nangoli Derrick, and 2 mobilizers Muyama Rose and Opio Denis.