Programme: COMMON MATTERS  - CSO Partner: RAHU (Reach A Hand Uganda)

Adolescents often take part in risky sexual behavior if they are not informed of the consequences. This behavior often results in the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and teenage pregnancies, comprising 25% of all pregnancies in Uganda. TRAC FM and RAHU launched a radio campaign to address the importance of Youth Friendly Health Services for Ugandan adolescents.

What we did.

Although Youth Friendly Health Services are essential to address the sexual reproductive health needs of adolescents, half of the Ugandan adolescents does not use these services. In areas where YFHS are not yet available, adolescents fear to use regular services because of stigma. But even when YFHS are available, other barriers stop them from seeking these services.

The three poll questions attracted over 9,000 responses throughout Uganda. The results of these questions are presented on the next page. As the results show, adolescents require information and treatment of STDs mostly. The main barriers they face to use the services for STDs are a lack of privacy and treatment by a health worker from the opposite sex. RAHU invited experts and clinicians to further discuss these findings during radio talk shows.

In the light of the review of the ADH Policy, the Ministry of Health invited TRAC FM and RAHU to present the findings of this radio campaign. Miriam Namugere (focal person for the ADH Technical Working group and focal person for Gender-Based Violence) welcomed the findings: “We need this feedback from the community. It shows what we should do as a Ministry.” She explained that adolescents should be sensitized on why a same-sex health provider is not always available. She continued: “On the other hand, we should make sure that our staff conducts their work according to professional guidelines in order for patients to feel comfortable.”

This appraisal paved the way for RAHU to discuss the implications of the community perspectives for the review of the ADH Policy.