In Uganda, access and utilization of contraceptives are critical to attaining and protecting the right to health for both men and women alike through the improvement of reproductive health rights. Sexual and reproductive health rights being a major component of a right to health in turn directly contributes to the holistic achievement of all human rights, owing to their interdependence and indivisibility. Therefore, the impact of inadequate access and use of contraception to human rights cannot be overstated more so for adolescent girls and young women. Lack of access to information about and utilization of contraceptives not only inhibits an individual’s right to health through an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, but also curtails one’s right to decide the number of children to have, increases the risk of unintended pregnancies which in turn lead to dropping out of school and limiting the economic potential of the young generation through perpetuating early pregnancies and parenthood. This affects males and females disproportionately, with women and young girls facing more dire consequences than their male counterparts, both physically and mentally.
On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic is straining the public health system, triggering unprecedented measures by the government, including movement restrictions and shelter-in-place orders. Women are disproportionally represented in the health and social services sectors, increasing their risk of exposure to the disease. Stress, limited mobility, and livelihood disruptions also increase women’s and girls’ vulnerability to gender-based violence and exploitation. If health systems redirect resources away from sexual and reproductive health services, women’s access to family planning, antenatal care, and other critical services could suffer.
World Contraceptives Day (WCD) takes place on September 26th every year. The annual worldwide campaign centres around a vision where every pregnancy is wanted. In commemoration of WCD Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum held a tweet chat under the theme ‘Let us roll back the teenage pregnancy crisis’. The panelists were; Joshua Thembo, Winifred Ikilai, Akumu Deborah Leticia, Amanda Joan, and Tonny Muzira. The tweet chat ran with three harsh tags #ContraceptiveDayUg | #WCDUg2020 | #FP4Change. The tweet chat had over 287 tweets, 15 Original Contributors, 22,294,370 Potential Impacts, 1,341,595 Potential Reach, 87 Original Tweets, 116 Total Contributors, 11,565.47 Followers per contributor, and 4.31 Tweets per contributor. The main objectives of the tweet chat were to create awareness on WCD 2020, improve awareness of all contraceptive methods available, and enable young people to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.