Dr Jessica Nsumba, the Commissioner in Charge of Reproductive, Maternal and Adolescents Health at the Ministry of Health has appreciated the efforts and urge of Ugandan youth to be directly involved in addressing their health challenges, a move she says has not been the case in the past few years.
Launching the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) advocacy findings survey conducted by youth, Nsumba said that the report has clearly highlighted the key areas which the Ministry has to improve to ensure that all people benefit from the available services.
“It’s not the first report of this kind and we have received a number of them from various stakeholders but this one is unique due to the fact that the youth themselves have participated and brought out their challenges clearly,” Nsumba said.
She noted that the findings are going to be used in the ongoing development of new policy about children and adolescents within the Ministry of Health.
“I have liked all the nine recommendations from the report in which we have been asked to include the youth in all our programs like HIV, Nutrition and Malaria as well as extending family planning to all youth groups country wide,” she said.
She added that as the Ministry, they have trained and sensitized health workers at all levels to ensure that they create a special environment (treatment) for the young people where they can freely address their issues in secrecy since many hate sharing their problems in public.
Some of the youth who attended the launch reported that they don’t go for antenatal visits due to the fear of being judged and criticized by the older mothers at the health centers.
Joshua Thembo from Naguru Teenage Center asked the youth leaders to always approach Government Ministries and other stake holders with evidence.
The report was conducted in Busia and Pallisa by the Ugandan Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) and Naguru Youth Health Forum (NYHF).
It contains evidence based key actions that can be used to engage the Ministry of health, the district health department and local health facilities, primary health care workers among others to ensure that reproductive and quality maternal health services, youth friendly and serving the specific needs and aspirations of young people are availed to the beneficiaries.