The Tororo district woman Member of Parliament Hon. Sarah Acheng Opendi has commended the Uganda Youth and Adolescents’ Health Forum (UYAHF) for equipping the Tororo district government health workers with skills in counseling and communication.

This was during her speech at the capacity building training for health workers on communication skills and provision of quality Sexual and Reproductive Health services held at TLT hotel in Tororo District on 24th August 2021.

Hon. Sarah Acheng Opendi (far left) looks on shortly after his speech during the Tororo district health workers capacity building training at TLT hotel in Tororo recently.

The training brought together 12 health workers from 12 different government health facilities within the district including Doctors, Nurses, Midwives among others.

Hon. Opendi said that such capacity-building training is so critical for the health workers adding that it should be an opportunity for them to realize that they have a bigger task towards mitigating the high rates of teenage pregnancies and the other reproductive health challenges facing the adolescents in the district.

“I must say UYAHF has been doing and is continuously doing a commendable job. This training is timely and on point, because it is equipping you the health workers with the knowledge, information, and skills on how to deal with the adolescents who we know are currently facing challenges of teenage pregnancies and child marriages among others due to lack of information about SRHR,” Hon. Opendi said.

She decried the high rate of unprotected sex among the school going children and said that much as the community is shy to openly talk about the practice, they should accept the reality and enroll the sexually active young girls on contraceptives other than denying them which has forced many into unsafe abortions and early marriages.

The Tororo district DHO, Dr. Okoth Obbo revealed that currently, the rate of teenage pregnancies in the district stands at 26% among the girls between the age of 10 to 19 years.

The Tororo district DHO, Dr. Okoth Obbo while opening the training.

Dr. Obbo encouraged the health workers to take on the issues discussed in the training to their respective health facilities to help curb the situation and promote safe motherhood. He appreciated the UYAHF team for the timely training noting that this is very resourceful.

During the training, issues of effective communication, counseling as a tool to provide quality Sexual Reproductive Health services, and the youth challenging barriers and biases to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (YCBB-SRHR) were discussed extensively.

The sessions were conducted by Sister Lillian Anachu Enwaku; the SGBV focal person Mbale district and Sister. Abigail Apio, the Mbale District Adolescent focal person. They discussed with the health workers the importance of effective communication when providing services to people at the various facilities. They also taught about counseling young people with confidentiality and in a conducive environment.

“It is important to create spaces where the young people are safe to discuss and engage in issues that affect their health, this will make them comfortable and they will open to you,” said Sr. Lillian.

During the training, Mr. Mwesigye Patrick, the team leader of UYAHF said that the organization is working hand in hand with the district to see that the health workers are trained so that they not only get the knowledge and information but also become trainers or facilitators in the community on sexual reproductive health. He pointed out the young mother’s Forum (YMF) being one of the training that the health workers will start with.

He said that UYAHF as an organization is committed to providing youth-friendly services and make services like Family planning available and Gender-Based Violence screening as well as do referrals for girls that require other services like, safe abortion, and information, and counseling. as well as offer follow-up services like testing for STIs, HIV, pregnancy tests, cervical cancer tests.

By the end of the training, the health workers were motivated and pledged to implement the skills learned in the provision of quality Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in a manner that encourages young people to seek these services rather than shun away from them.