Village Health Teams Stakeholders Meeting At The UYAHF Adolescent Health Clinic
In December 2020 UYAHF opened up an adolescent clinic in Mbale to offer safe and youth-friendly services to adolescent’s girls and boys in Eastern Uganda. For various stakeholders to know about the clinic a VHT stakeholders meeting was organized at the UYAHF Adolescent Health Clinic in Mbale district. On 9th January 2021, the UYAHF Adolescent Health Clinic organized the VHT’s stakeholder’s meeting which was attended by 18 participants (8 M, 10 F) at the UYAHF Mbale offices. The objectives of the VHT stakeholders meeting were, to orient Village Health Teams (VHT) around the role of UYAHF change champions, draw commitment from VHT’s regarding the upcoming tasks and facilitate adequate time for planning, create space for dialogue, sharing, and learning from the VHT’s among others.
Village Health Teams do amazing work in communities and this puts them in a better position to understand the health needs of the people within their communities. Adolescent girls have on several occasions reached out to them asking where they can easily access youth-friendly SRH services without being questioned or judged. The uptake of SRH services remains low in the Mbale district stated Sis Lillian the assistant District Officer who also doubles as a midwife at Nakaloke Health Centre IV. She shared an example of their health facility where on average 20 adolescent girls turn up for SRH services but less than half of that number feels comfortable receiving the intended service after realizing they are going to have to line up with adults for them to get services like family planning. These adults later on gossip about them and accuse them of engaging in early sex.
Sam Wadada the clinic in-charge presented to the participants about the Adolescent Health 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, the ADH adolescent health clinic 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 the adolescents should therefore be adolescent-friendly.
By the end of the VHTs stakeholders meeting the VHTs had pledged to work with the clinic, the police Protection Unit promised to refer some of their GBV cases to the clinic for screening since most of the time they are overwhelmed with numbers and the Mbale district probation officer concluded that she will link the clinic to ensure the staff is engaged.