From hassling with life’s challenges to an advocate
Wednesday, 7 August, 2019
Intergenerational dialogue at Kasiro HC III in Serere District
I realized that I still had a life to live when I went back home, pleaded with my parents to take me back to school. My parents worked hard to help me enroll for a certificate in crafts and tailoring at a technical institute and after the certificate I expect to go back for a diploma course. “Give me two years, you will not believe that am the one that struggled with life after the father of my two children dumped me for another wife.” Ajira Salome Loy sighed blissfully as she narrated her ordeal and what had happened to her.
This is the kind of expression that the young people give when they convene for dialogues to present their issues hence pushing for their right to health.
Ajira Salume Loy making a presentation on youth challenges at the intergenerational dialogue at Kasiro HC III
Youths and young people have representation at parliament and at district level. However, they have been marginalized. Many have fallen victims of crimes like rape, defilement and this explains why the teenage pregnancy rate is very high especially in the rural areas in Uganda.
Child pregnancies increased to 25% as reflected in the 2016 Uganda Demographic Health Survey report. The report states that 24% of female teenagers are either pregnant or have given birth. Girls between the age of 15-19 Sep 6, 2018
34.8% are adolescents but 25% of these adolescent girls and young women aged 15-19 are pregnant or already mothers. (MOH)
Loy got her first pregnancy when she was 19 years old, definitely troubled with teenage pregnancy, a school dropout, her parents could not raise any more school fees. She is now 29 years.
Amref Health Africa through the Health Systems Advocacy Partnership Project, came up with the intergenerational dialogue model to empower young people to speak up boldly and push for their right to health. It is through this opportunity that Loy became informed about her SRH rights and took up the initiative to become an advocate.
One of the commitments that the RDC made at the dialogue held in Serere District was pushing for sustainability of youth dialogues borrowing a leaf from the Amref. Young peoples’ platforms. SRHR issues and needs should be catered for and every facility should have a health worker attending to them.
Support Amref Health Africa’s initiative as we empower young people with information and confidence to push for their right to better SRH services and rights. Youths and young people will be able to take this on enthusiastically at all levels bearing in mind that 78% of Uganda’s population are young people, such platforms will inform all planning stakeholders and organizations to also put young people into consideration hence development.