Experts have stated that adolescent and young people’s sexual and reproductive health rights must be prioritized in the Covid-19 response and recovery efforts.
The words were made at the annual Intergenerational Dialogue held by Reach A Hand Uganda in cooperation with Next Media (IGD).
The IGD invites people with different perspectives and goals together to form alliances, develop powerful dialogue, and innovate toward gender equality and better SRHR for adolescents and young people.
The discussion brought together a variety of stakeholders in the sexual and reproductive health field to examine how reproductive health may be prioritized among young people as one of the keys to long-term development.
Since the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Uganda has achieved success in a variety of sectors, including maternal and sexual reproductive health, according to experts.
Kathleen Sherwin, the interim CEO of Women Deliver, stated at the discussion that SRHR must be prioritized in the Covid-19 reaction and recovery efforts.
“Young people, particularly young women, have high expectations of their governments in terms of promoting gender equality,” she said.
National Female Youth MP Phiona Nyamutoro said there’s nothing shameful about talking about periods and equipping young people with the knowledge they need about sex.
“We need to talk about sex because young people are approaching sex from all the wrong angles.” Girls are now getting their menstrual cycles as early as the age of eight. “Young people should be at the center of everything,” she stated.
The epidemic has worsened existing inequities for women and girls, as well as discrimination against other marginalized groups such as those with disabilities and those living in severe poverty, according to Exerts, and risks obstructing the realization of women’s and girls’ human rights.
Reach A Hand Uganda’s chief executive officer, Humphrey Nabimanya, believes that more stakeholders should come out and talk about the challenges that affect young people.
“Despite the Covid-19 epidemic, we have had other pandemics that have resulted from the same,” he stated, citing adolescent pregnancies, unemployment, poverty, and other issues.
When it comes to parental communication, Ruth Namutebi, HIV/AIDS advocate and peer educator at Reach A Hand Uganda, says parents are poor at talking with their children, something that needs to be rectified.
Sexual immorality and other concerns relating to reproductive health grew common during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Rev Ezra Yongeza Mukonzo, a religious leader, who added that it is their obligation as church leaders to ensure that young people receive sex education.
Ugandan adolescents and youth, according to Reach A Hand Uganda’s country director James Tumusiime, need a community that prioritizes their well-being.
“Policies, community engagement, and discourse can help us achieve this. “The IGD is one of such venues that brings together stakeholders to assess these three components and chart a course forward to guarantee that sexual and reproductive rights are fully realized,” he said.