Give more time to the young people

Rachael Namara, a nursing officer at Mpigi Health center IV says that some of the adolescent health related issues require ample time to be addressed.

Namara, who is in charge of the youth corner at the facility was sharing her experience, during a technical support visit by Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre  staff, aimed at empowering health facility and youth corner teams to deliver quality adolescent sexual and reproductive health  services.

 “I’ve realized that adolescents have issues that need to be addressed, and these issues can only be addressed to detail if clinicians give more time and attention to the young people”

Some times when they come, they’re worked on so first and not given time to air out all their issues; tell the clinician what they’re feeling or what they want because some of the things are not typically medical, they need advice through counselling, psychosocial support,” she noted.

Namara further revealed that with challenge of stock outs of drugs, the adolescents are likely to miss out on them.

Namara also recommended the intensification of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) education in schools.

“Since they stayed home for a long period of time of COVID19 lock down, some of them joined some bad groups, they need counselling. Like one of them was telling me he was abusing drugs, and feared to take the COVID-19 vaccine because he thought that maybe it could affect him,” she noted.

It should be noted that Mpigi district, is one of the districts that were hit by an increase in teenage pregnancies during the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to the Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre data for the period ” 2020 & 2021, 3,411 teenagers attended antenatal care services at the Kiswa based health facility. Furthermore during the same period, of the 710 teenagers who had a pregnancy test, 244 (34%) returned a positive pregnancy test of which 46% of the positive pregnancy tests were unwanted.”

However, Sr. Margaret Nannozi, the Ag District Health Officer (DHO), Mpigi noted that adolescent health is currently one of the priority focus areas for the district as a whole. She said that the district has considered intensifying quarterly support supervision to all health centers.

Apparently, all district leaders including the Resident District Commissioner (RDCS), LC5, and the district health teams are conducting joint support supervision to the health facilities to ensure that the young people within the various communities are enjoying and are accessing quality health services.

She also recommended the strengthening of stakeholder coordination for adolescent health services within the district. She said that District Committee on Adolescent Health (DICAH) model is a good for multi- sectoral. She therefore called for a multi sectoral sharing engagement among all stakeholders that are engaged in delivery of health services and programs that target young people.

Adding, “Since the district is engaging in quarterly monitoring for health service delivery, it’s important that all partners who are delivering and supporting the delivery of health services at the district ensure that their monitoring tools are aligned to those of the district. This will help in joint tracking of performance of adolescent health programs.”

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