The Ministry of Health in partnership with Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF), Power to You(th), and other CSOs: Plan International, PSI, Marie Stopes, She Leads, UYAFPA, UNFPA, Ministry of Gender and Labour organized a Safe Motherhood Summit on 27th September 2021.

The National Youth for Safe Motherhood Summit was organized under the theme: “Leave no Adolescent behind for safe motherhood!” and was attended by 200 young people mobilized across the entire country and had a cocktail of activities including among others; Panel discussions, Plenary discussions, and intergenerational dialogues, Break way group discussions, Edutainment intrudes with a blend of music, and dance, social media engagement.

The Summit’s overall goal was to bring young people’s RMNCAH needs, challenges, and opportunities central to the national Safe Motherhood strategy and conversations and amplify young people’s voices to influence and shape the country’s Safe Motherhood policy and programming agenda.

Other key issues included discussing and sharing an understanding of the magnitude and impact of COVID-19 on young people’s SRHR and increased exposure to the risk of SGBV and early and unwanted pregnancies as well as mobilizing support from policymakers and duty bearers to understand and commit to investments in safe motherhood strategies and programs that respond to the SRMRNCAH needs and challenges of young people and provide a platform for young mothers and pregnant teenagers to share experiences and challenges in accessing essential SRHR and safe motherhood services at community.The Categories of participants in attendance included: young mothers, pregnant adolescents, adolescents at high risk of teenage pregnancies, refugee youths, young people living with disabilities, in-school and out of school youths, young men and boys, a youth leader in the national youth councils, youth councilors, peer educators, youth champions, youth VHTs, etc.

Faith Rebecca, a senior two student from Gayaza High School while presenting a poem recited “I am so concerned about my fellow young girls’ futures; many have become pregnant, and I wonder how many will return to school,”

Ngelecha Lyndah, a young person from Moroto, the district revealed that the district has few health facilities, and those that do exist are far away. As a result, adolescents have limited access to SRHR information and services.

Tanga Caroline, a young person from Busia says, cultural norms, and myths, and misconceptions have really hindered the uptake of SRHR service especially FP.

“The community always says negative things about FP, such as how one might become Burren if she uses them. Because of the negative things they have told us about FP methods, we are afraid to use them” Caroline added.

According to preliminary data, antenatal attendance has in the country has decreased significantly due to inaccessibility to health facilities, while the rate of teenage pregnancy has increased by 17%.

Dr. Olivia Sentumbwe, the World Health Organisation representative for Uganda. revealed that whereas many girls were safe at school, Covid 19 has now locked them up at home with perpetrators, which she says is a justification for the increment in teenage pregnancies and other SRHR challenges. She further also said that education, which is regarded as an important contraceptive, has been severely affected by the covid19 pandemic, putting young girls at risk.

 Dr. Richard Mugahi, Asst Commissioner RH – MoH, urged ADHOs to move to communities. He observes that sitting in offices will not solve the problem; instead, they must interact with the victims to understand the gist of the problem.

While Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, a Paediatrician emphasized that every single health care provider should be adolescent responsive. She also called for the need to identify an adolescent champion at the national level.