Today, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of adolescents and young people and to respond more effectively to their specific needs. The rapid physical, cognitive and psycho-social growth and development that takes place between the ages of 10 and 19 years influences an individual for the rest of his or her life.

The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (GSWCAH 2016–2030) and the AA-HA! Frameworks have identifies adolescents as being central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

Sarah Opendi, Minister of State, (general duties) taking a group photo with partners and participants at the summit.

Today, universal health coverage (UHC) – a framework emerging as a unifying post-2015 agenda for global health – provides an opportunity for renewed attention to meeting the health-care needs of adolescents through the strengthening of health systems.

In a bid to advocate for adolescent health RMNCAH issues and Universal Health Coverage, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum, with support from HIVOS under the YHA! project, mobilized young people to be a part of the RMNCAH summit that attracted over 500 young people from across the country.

The summit’s goal was to amplify young people’s voices for better accountability, coordination, and access to RMNCAH services. UYAHF organized a session dubbed ‘Advancing UHC agenda in Uganda: -Progress towards Universal Health Coverage requires an adolescent – responsive health care system’. This session was an informative session that was done in collaboration with ACHEST, UNYPA and the international youth alliance for family planning. Apio Winnie, program officer SRHR and gender equality delivered the address on behalf of UYAHF and she emphasized the need for adolescent health to be prioritized in the progressive actions that the government of Uganda is taking towards UHC. She also pointed out the fact that adolescents have significant needs for health services and; therefore UHC requires that appropriate and effective interventions for improving adolescent health and development are available and that policy-makers, health-care providers, adolescents, and their parents know about these health services.

It is important that youth voices be well represented and documented in regard to their specific challenges and needs in the UHC agenda. We, therefore, shared a questionnaire to collect young people’s views on UHC. Please find the link to the form here link and share with other young people in your networks.

The information will be used to strengthen a groundbreaking report on young people and UHC and will be a strong pillar towards young people’s advocacy for Universal Health Coverage to become a reality in Uganda!