Experts have said the sexual and reproductive health rights for adolescents and young people must be prioritised in Covid-19 response and recovery efforts.
The remarks were made as Reach A Hand Uganda, in collaboration with Next Media hosted the annual Intergenerational Dialogue (IGD).
The IGD brings diverse viewpoints and aspirations together in order to facilitate partnerships, foster powerful dialogue, and innovate toward gender equality and improve SRHR for adolescents and young people.
The dialogue brought together various stakeholders in the sexual reproductive health space to discuss how reproductive health can be prioritised among young people as one of the keys to sustainable development.
According to the experts Uganda has made progress in a variety of areas since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including maternal and sexual reproductive health.
Speaking during the dialogue, Kathleen Sherwin, the interim chief executive Officer at Women Deliver, explained that SRHR must be prioritised in Covid-19 response and recovery efforts.
“Young people, especially young women, have the highest expectations of their governments to advance gender equality,”she said.
Phiona Nyamutoro, the National Female Youth MP, said there is nothing shameful about discussing periods and giving young people knowledge about sex that they should have.
“We have to talk about sex because young people are having sex from very wrong perspectives. Times have changed and girls are getting their menstrual periods as early as 8 years. It should be the young people at the centre of everything,” she noted.
Exerts explained that the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities for women and girls, as well as discrimination against other marginalised groups such as people with disabilities and those living in extreme poverty, and risks impeding the realisation of women’s and girls’ human rights.
Humphrey Nabimanya, the chief executive officer of Reach A Hand Uganda, said there is a need for more stakeholders to come out and talk about the issues affecting young people.
“Despite the pandemic of Covid-19, we have had other pandemics that have resulted from the same such as teenage pregnancies, unemployment, poverty and much more,”he said.
Ruth Namutebi, HIV/AIDS advocate and peer educator at Reach A Hand Uganda said when it comes to parental communication, parents are terrible at communicating with their children ,something that must be improved.
Rev Ezra Yongeza Mukonzo, religious leader said during this Covid-19 pandemic, sexual immorality and other issues related to reproductive health became rampant ,adding that it’s their responsibility as church leaders to make sure that they provide sex education to the young people.
James Tumusiime, country director, Reach A Hand Uganda said Ugandan adolescents and youth deserve a community that prioritises their wellbeing.
“We can do this through policies, community engagement and dialogue. The IGD is one of those platforms that brings together stakeholders to take stock of these three aspects and forge ways forward to ensure the enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights,” he said.