The overall state of SHR 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).
Young people are poorly informed about issues of HIV, STI and family planning hence making them more vulnerable to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Several myths and misconceptions exist among teenagers: 54% of young people think a girl cannot get pregnant the first time she has sex. (Straight Talk Foundation 2013). In line with above, only 5% of public health facilities in Uganda provide Youth Friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health services. (Ministry of Health, 2011)
Worldwide, entertainment is core to the well-being of adolescents and youth. It alters their moods, furnishes much of their slang, dominates their conversations and greatly influences their behavior. This is the rationale of the “Famire Pulaningi Mu Ndongo” a native luganda word which literally means a fusion of edutainment ( education and entertainment) with family planning information and services, which sets out to educate youths and adolescents on issues of SRHR by creating an interactive and fun environment for learning through music performance, creative dance performances, poems, dance narratives, educative movie shows and flash mobs that are in cooperated with targeted SRHR messages on ASRH, HIV/AIDS prevention, Gender Based Violence, Maternal Health, Family Planning, Menstruation Hygiene Management to mention but a few.
Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) in partnership with Program for Accessible Health, Communication and Education (PACE) organized the 1st Family Planning Concert for young people in Uganda. The “Famire Pulaningi Mu Ndongo” concert was purposed to increase access to up-to-date SRH information and quality services especially among young women and girls in Luweero District.
The day started off with a little rain showers that ignited the days blessings. Early morning, we flagged off with a community mobile drive with over 20 “Boda-Boda” riders that were dressed in branded colored t-shirts and a team of edutainers backed up with a groovy public address system. During the drive, the community flash mobs were conducted by the team of edutainers which attracted numbers of people as wanted to get a glimpse of what was taking place. The peer educators used this opportunity to distribute complimentary tickets for free SRH services at the concert.
We also used Radio Stations such as Radio Simba and other community mega radios sited within communities to mobilize young women and girls living within the other surrounding areas/sub counties of Luweero District. These radios were also used to reinforce some of the key messages related to SRH rights, Gender Based Violence, HIV/AIDS, Family Planning, Myths and Misconceptions and STIs transmission and prevention through customized local mentions and diggles.
Later in the day, the concert was graced with Luweero Woman MP - Hon. Eng. Lillian Nakatte, Henry Namakola – DHO’s Office and the PACE team from Kampala. Hon. Eng. Lillian Nakatte used this platform to encourage young women and girls to be in total control of their lives and future by embracing use of family planning services provided at sited Profam Clinics in Luweero.
“As the government, we don’t have the capacity to reach out every community, therefore I encourage young women to take advantage of such opportunities when they come to your communities” – Hon. Eng. Lillian Nakate, Luweero Woman MP
“We are always looking forward to providing support to new implementing partners such as Public Health Ambassadors Uganda as they do a tremendous job in complimenting some of the work (health) we do in the district” – Namakola Henry, DHO’s office
The concert provided a platform where the community people who turned up for the concert had an opportunity to interface with the different stakeholders by voicing out different health issues affecting them and asking questions related to poor quality of SRH services for young people at public health facilities in Luweero.
“What strategies is the district putting in place to ensure young people living in hard to reach sub counties benefit from such opportunities of free SRH service provision?”- asked a young woman from Kamila Sub county.
Our peer educators also provided on-site one on one session focusing on family planning methods and other related myths with young women who had come to attend the concert. This interactions empowers young women and girls with up to date family planning information to enable them make an informed choice on which method to use.
In numbers; an estimated total of 8000 people attended the concert at Kasana grounds. 382 people received access to free HIV counselling and testing services where 198 were males and 153 were females. 5 women and 4 male were found HIV positive and immediately linked for further management at Kasana Health Center IV. A total of 235 young women received free STI testing and treatment information and counselling services with support from service providers. Among the 95 young women who tested, 20 were positive and received immediate treatment and the rest were not reactive. 28,800 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. 2380 young people received condoms after being taught on the correct and consistent use of the condoms. 1013 of which were young women. 33 women received FP services including implant insertion and removal, pillplan and inject-plan. More than 100 women sought and were offered counselling on FP.
The audience was entertained by celebrated musicians; Maro with support from Luwero upcoming artistes. The musical performances were complimented with themed comedy, dance performances and condom challenge.
This concert was supported by Luweero District Local Government and other partners such as AHF Uganda Cares, Profam Clinics, Prefa, Knowledge For Health and Komamboga Youth Center.