USING BEHAVIORAL CHANGE COMMUNICATION TO INCREASE DEMAND AND UTILIZATION OF SRHR SERVICES AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE IN JINJA
The overall state of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for young people in Uganda in extremely higher compared with the global data for instance the adolescent fertility rate (births per 1000 women ages 15-19) stands at 121% for Uganda, 45.3% for global respectively according to the World Bank. The high rate of unmet need for contraceptives 41% has an unmet need for family planning. (UDHS 2016), only 24 % currently married women report current use of contraception (UDHS 2016), combined with Uganda's increasing rate of population growth (3.3 percent), continue to hinder economic development, deepen poverty, and detract from the achievements that have been made in the social sector.
The data further still shows evidence of inadequate or lack of accurate SRHR information and services among young people in Uganda. For instance, teenage pregnancy is higher among uneducated girls: 45% of girls without education have already had a baby, compared to 16% of girls with secondary education. (UBOS and Macro International Inc 2011).
In partnership with Program for Accessible Health, Communication and Education (PACE) under the youth SRHR program, PHAU is reaching out to young girls and women (15 to 24 years) in Jinja district to sensitize them on issues of family planning, Post abortion care, HIV/AIDS, Gender based violence as well as referring them to Profam clinics for these services. The program is focused at creating demand for SRHR information and services with a focus on family planning within a period of three months.
As the program comes to an end, we climaxed our youth interventions with a mega concert dubbed “Family Planning Street Concert 2017” at Alidina Street next to Jinja Main Market. This was the second family planning concert purposed to increase access to quality HIV and SRHR services among young women and girls in Jinja District. PHAU engaged Jinja based local artistes, peer educators, youth groups and local leaders to mobilize young women and girls for the concert where they receive information and services on SRH, HIV, Gender Based Violence, Maternal Health, Contraception in form of musical performances, short drama, creative dance performances, dance competitions, themed challenges, educative movie shows and community led flash mobs.
Mobilization entailed door to door sensitization using peer educators, radio talk shows (Smart fm and NBS fm) and TV talk shows (Khodheyo TV), mobile drives during the d-day. The mobile community drives engaged the young women and girls in edutainment activities through community dramas, dances, flash mobs and Magnet Theatre as a mode of sensitizing the community in a fun, interactive and participatory manner. There were pauses during these fun activities that were used to pass on SRHR information and to also inform the people of the concert.
RADIO TALK SHOWS
A total of two radio talk shows were aired at Smart FM and NBS FM - Radio stations respectively. Smart FM is purely an urban youth based radio with a big listener-ship for young people while NBS FM is a “lusonga” station with a big listener-ship for all age groups in Jinja. The radio talk programme comprised of a representative from PACE, PHAU and a Profam Provider. The talk show program also reminded listeners of the Profam service package, name of the Profam clinics, project focus areas/sub counties and target group.
HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY POP IN
The services availed during the concert included condom demonstration and distribution, Family planning services, Post Abortion Care, Gender Based Violence, HIV Counseling and Testing, Blood donation as well as health education.
- A total of 825 people received access to free HIV counselling and testing services. 10 women and 7 males were found HIV positive and immediately linked for further management at Bugembe health centre IV and AIDS Information Center -jinja.
- A total of 576,000 male condoms were distributed both during day and night most of which were received during late evening hours especially by the young women, young men and Boda boda cyclists.
- In addition, 469 people were directly reached with health education services through focused group discussions and one on one session on themed topics during the outreach these included Family planning methods, HIV prevention, Cervical Cancer Screening and Menstrual Hygiene Management.
- A total of 362 females received family planning services on site which included 82 IUD, 29 Depo, 37 implants, 11 Microgyno and 203 cervical cancer screening of which 3 were found positive and referred to Kakira hospital.
An estimated total of 10,000 were reached with FP and HIV information throughout the day using the themed comedy, music performances, creative dance performances and community flash mobs. Performing artists were tasked with the role of passing on important SRHR messages that had been taught them beforehand especially information on the importance of Family Planning if one desired a happy healthy family.
Many Jinja based artists, radio personalities, comedians, dance groups performed on the mega stage as the audience (mostly constituted by young people) was filled with vigour and enthusiasm to learn about the different SRHR information and services offered. Young people used this opportunity to ask questions related to family planning and those who answered the right questions received free gift hampers such as t-shirts.
Special thanks to Jinja Municipal Council and other partners such as Bugembe Health Center IV, Restless Development, Profam Clinics, and AIDS Information Centre- Jinja, Naguru Teenage Information and Health Center and Jinja Police.