World Population, COVID-19 and Beyond: A Spotlight on Uganda’s Adolescent Reproductive Health
On July 11th, Action 4 Health Uganda (A4HU) joins the rest of the world to commemorate World Population Day to remind everyone of the urgent nature of population issues, and their impact on the environment and development. The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years attributed to increased longevity, and changes in fertility rates among others. This comes with far reaching health, and socio-economic effects.
Uganda’s predominantly young population of 42 million is expected to reach 100 million by 2050. The population growth rate is 3.0%, and the fertility rate is 4.96 births per woman of childbearing age is among the highest in the world. It is a critically important and urgent matter that young people in Uganda should be empowered to make informed choices about their reproductive health and rights.
A4HU and Population
A4HU is a youth empowerment organisation dedicated to mainstreaming young people's engagement in socio-economic development and promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights/ Family Planning (SRHR/ FP). It advocates for the prioritisation and provision of inclusive, and gender sensitive youth friendly FP and health services; and promotes socio-economic opportunities for young people using a peer led, empowerment, and partnership model.
A4HU was a member of the FP2020 movement which sought to enable 120 million additional women and girls to use modern contraception by 2020, and to reduce the unmet need among adolescents. From 2018 to 2020, A4HU reached 192,008 young people with SRHR/FP services and enabled over 1,000 to engage in meaningful economic activities. A lot more young people benefited from A4HU’s leadership development and mentorship programs. More work needs to be done to reach all the young people in Uganda with the SRHR services that they need.
The disruptions occasioned by COVID-19
Globally, an estimated 12 million women have experienced contraceptive disruptions leading to 1.4 million unintended pregnancies since covid-19 was declared an international public health emergency in March 2020. Similarly, socio-economic disruptions of the pandemic compel young women and girls to delay or forego contraception, grossly compromising SRHR/FP service delivery in Uganda.
In response to COVID-19, A4HU has supported innovative strategies of reaching out to young people in these tough time; it works closely with COVID-19 Task Forces; donated personal protective equipment; and promoted ingenious approaches to minimize the disruptions in SRHR/FP service delivery; and prioritised the safety of its staff by strict observance of Presidential directives and MOH SOPs.
Towards the future
A4HU will continue to: create awareness on the impact of COVID-19 on the realisation of SRHR/FP goals; intensify SRHR/FP information and services for young people, especially women and girls; support development of resilient health systems; provide platforms for young people to participate in policy, budgeting and other high level SRHR/FP decisions; generate evidence for SRRH/FP advocacy; pursue strategic partnerships and resources required to realise the vision of FP2030; and increase access to inclusive socio economic opportunities for young people.
Together let us make Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights/ Family Planning add up for young people in Uganda!
Learn more: www.a4hu.org ; Twitter: @action4hU; Facebook: action4hug