A new partnership between a USAID-funded project, Kitgum district Health department and Straight Talk Foundation is increasing access to reproductive health services among the youth in the district.
Ongom Emmanuel, the Head of the Medical Department at Straight Talk foundation’s Kitgum Youth Centre, says the partnership is offering various integrated sexual reproductive services to sexually active youth groups.
Ongom says providing these services free of charge has proven to be efficient in addressing the unmet needs of family planning and limited access to contraceptives among sexually active youth in the region.
According to Ongom, at least 300 youths benefited in the three days with the final returns for specific service yet to be compiled and filed.
Some of the youth that turned up at the three-day health camp shared their difficulties in accessing condoms, family planning services, voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing services in government facilities.
Michael Onguti, a high school student at Kitgum Town College, says he had to miss school on Friday to benefit from the free services.
A mother of four who declined to be identified said she left her business to undergo screening for cervical cancer and HIV test.
Margaret Aryemo, the Assistant Kitgum district Health Officer In charge of Maternal, New Born Babies and Child Health, says three out of every ten expectant mothers visiting the antenatal ward at Kitgum Main Hospital are teenagers.
She says running youth-tailored programs such as these health camps will go a long way in addressing gaps in girl child education, teenage pregnancies and child malnutrition among others.
Ongom says they are reaching out to various communities on using the approach of health camps. The latest camp ended on Friday at Kitgum Youth centre.
He says the youth overwhelmingly embraced the exercise to access various services. He says with this high success, similar camps will be organized outside the centre.