Adolescents and youth voices creating voices on the SRHR discussion table- “Nothing for us without us”

Amref Health Africa through the Health systems Advocacy project in Uganda contributed and participated in the  2nd National Stakeholders Dialogue on Adolescent Health 2019.  The lead convener was Peer To Peer Uganda (PEERU) a young people lead organisation  in Uganda.

The Dialogue  that took place on the 24th of June as a pre- event toward the world population day celebrations. The event brought together adolescents and young people in school and out of school, implementers of programs targeting adolescents, Ministry of Health officials, District Health officials, religious and cultural leaders, health providers, donor communities, youth leaders, parliamentarians among other stakeholders.

The dialogue was conducted under the theme: “Access to holistic healthcare services: The need for multi-sectoral collaboration in popularizing the UHC agenda to reach and or engage adolescents”.

The main purpose was to  avail adolescents and youth people with a platform for meaningful participation to generate ideas and experiences to inform a national strategic direction in the adolescent health programming  for Uganda .

During the event there was increased awareness, understanding  and acceptance of sexual and reproductive health, child rights against sexual and gender based violence and early/unwanted pregnancies. We also lobbied for an enabling environment for adolescents.

Quote  Dr. Richard Mugahi – (Asst. Commissioner Adolescent Health and School Health – Ministry of Health)

“ We need to be more practical than talkers; because we have the youngest population in the world. We cannot allow girls to become mothers, as well as allow boys be fathers at their tender age.  Let us not shy away from the adolescent health challenges we are facing as a country”

Adolescent representatives and youth leaders comprised of both girls and boys from primary, secondary schools, and out of school youth champions and youth leaders who discussed issues that affect adolescents and they came up with a communiqué’ that shared their needs and recommendations to different influencers and policy makers.

The pre-adolescent dialogue event was mean’t to build discussions towards reviewing Uganda’s progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and analyse the status of the critical health infrastructure (including health workforce) and the need to attain sustained progress towards UHC for adolescents. The pre-event attracted adolescents and young people; from across 17 districts in Uganda. Our six HSAP targeted districts were represented. Adolescents and young people  came together and identified problems and possible solutions in accessing SRHR services.

This dialogue aimed to further highlight the role of different stakeholders in ensuring access to SRHR services for this category.

The Adolescent and Young people’s communiqué developed at the Pre- event was presented at the main stakeholders dialogue meeting held on the 25th of June and a copy of the same was also presented to the Vice President of Uganda  on the 11th of July , 2019 at the national event held in Adjumani district.

Lilian Kamanzi Mugisha.

Communications  unit – Amref Health Africa in Uganda