Government with support from Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a five-year project to improve maternal, child and adolescent health services in select districts in the Busoga sub-region.
It is a joint project, with the financial support of $10 million dollars, ($9 million from KOICA and $1 million from WHO), and will be implemented in the districts of Bugiri, Buyende, Iganga, Kamuli and Mayuge.
Child marriages and teenage pregnancy have for years been a national concern in Busoga sub region and during the lockdown, adolescents have faced transport challenges, and while out of school, they lacked information on sexual reproductive health rights that their parents cannot openly share with them.
It is further reported that adolescents have the highest rate of frequently unsafe abortions and that of the 2.5 million adolescent girls in Uganda, 26 percent are sexually active and do not want a child.
According to the UNICEF database 2020 report, 1.3m girls globally marry before the age of 15.
Ha Byung-Kyoo, the Korean ambassador in Uganda appreciated the cooperation from the government of Uganda and WHO and expressed the commitment for support from the republic of Korea.
“Through KOICA and other Korean-based development partners, the government of Korea is committed to contributing to the achievement of the ministry of Health’s vision of ending preventable maternal new-born, child and adolescent deaths by improving RMNCAH infrastructure, supporting capacity growth of health workers and enhancing school health,” he said.
The WHO representative to Uganda, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, said that the project will be implemented in line with WHO Country cooperation strategy 4, which includes strengthening the multisectoral approach to address reproductive, maternal, new-born, child, and adolescent health and the social and environmental determinants of health.
“As we work tirelessly to reach women and children, we are also committed through this project to reach out to the adolescents in schools and those out of school mainly through the education system to address their sexual and reproductive health needs,” he said.
The state minister of Health in Charge of Primary Health Care, Margaret Muhanga said the project is timely in supporting the government’s commitment to end preventable maternal, new-born, child, and adolescent deaths.
She said the project will go a long way in improving the health indicators of the targeted population in the Busoga sub-region.
It is anticipated that by December 2024, the project will have benefited 560,809 pregnant women, 499,852 newborn babies, 349,327 in school adolescent boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years, and 687 teachers from both primary and secondary schools in those districts.
In addition, 159 health workers and 1,480,200 people especially out of school adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, parents, religious and cultural leaders) in Busoga region will also benefit from the project.