Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum has asked government to ensure more involvement of adolescents in all aspects of government programs because they are directly affected.
The call was made by Winnie Apio, the UYAHF Program Director during the a Pre- World Population Day Intergenerational policy dialogue on the state of the National Adolescent Health Policy Framework and delivery of youth-friendly sexual reproductive health services held in Kampala on Wednesday.
“Uganda having one of the highest number of young people, we determine development .It is crucial to take note of the various sexual reproductive challenges that the youths face. We hope the conversations here will spill over to the national dialogue because we believe young people are a value to the development of the country as a whole,”Apio said.
“There is need to recognize sexual reproductive health and family planning as essential services.”
She noted that as part of government efforts to ensure it meets the overall developmental goals, issues pertaining adolescents need to be taken care of.
“This dialogue has been important because we interfaced with national population council , key individuals from the ministry of health , world health organization to allow that even these discussion happen on a national level young people’s voices are considered.”
According to Dr Olive Sentumbwe, the World Health Organisation family health and population advisor, government has done a lot to ensure it include adolescents in its policies.
“If you are looking for policies and strategic documents, Uganda is the place. Uganda has pronounced itself on sustainable development goals. It tells you the role of young people in development of the country. Many ministries have pronounced themselves in sexual and health reproductive health in general and gone down to set adolescent health policies,”Ssentumbwe said.
She noted that the Ministry of Health has two separate policies that touch directly adolescents but also the sexuality education which is soon to be implemented touches adolescents.
Dr.Ssentumbwe however noted that the problem is implementation.
“The problem is on how to create an environment to implement the policies. The young people must be part of the monitoring processes. The processes only have old people to monitor the implementation. We need to engage more the adolescents,” she noted.
She noted that there is also need to involve various communities in the implementation so they can protect the rights of adolescents.
“Family members, parents , community have a responsibility of protecting the adolescents. If the implementation is to go in the right direction, everyone must be involved.”