INNOvate!

“The economy is hard, it is drained, it is scorching” is all you will hear from people nowadays. In days when the veil was upon my eyes, possibly i would have joined the charade but now that i chose life, even when it is an olfaction of all sorts of fifty shilling coins, i will at-least have a 10k… Yes you berra believe!!

Okay that aside, recently on one of the prominent national tabloids, the headline boldly read “Fresh graduates to offer mandatory free National Service for a year” before they are liable for employment. The brains behind this move state that education as it is imparted in schools, colleges and universities, leaves something to be desired and it is necessary to supplement it with programmes which would arouse interest and the social and economic reconstruction of the country. But you do realize that these very parliamentarians feel that the number of graduates is on a rise compared to the number of jobs the country will ever offer!! Jeez–i feel like a lecturer and i can see your head drop to your side as you struggle to pay close attention. You are wondering when i will make my point. So well here it is (I would like you to feel like you are hearing it over the radio with me voicing 😛 :P) >>

Are you an innovator? Do you have a health solution that’s stuck with you only because it requires funding? Then your preparation has been waiting for this grandeur. The package includes;

  • Funding
  • Mentorship
  • Business and technical training. 

15192669_1261051423969190_5233639696395341649_n.png

A year ago, young people merged into teams and formed apps called Safepal and GetIN which offer solutions to sexual and reproductive health challenges. Your innovation could emerge winner and seed funding in Dollars (Dallars) could be prologue of your story.

Now that i have given thee background, please feel free to stroll through here–> Up Accelerate and see how best you can nudge your mind to push you forward. I will be on the end that uses your innovation.. Oh btw, Deadline is 22nd December so even if you didn’t have an idea, you have quite a number of days to sleep over it with a group of friends.

P.s Creativity is thinking of new things whilst Innovation is doing new things so go Innovate; go come up with something that people didn’t think they needed *Winks

For More Info Check out the Facebook pages; Up Accelerate and Outbox… Kale bye

The thin line between Safe-Motherhood and Sustainable Development.

The buzz of activity that alighted Kisowera primary school along Kayunga Road in Mukono district on Monday the same day senior four candidates sat their first National examination was one to continuously remember. Students from different primary and secondary schools, civil servants, Government Officials, non-profit organizations, health personnel among various other attendees all came together to commemorate the National Safe motherhood day.

A skit on safe delivery on how a pregnant woman due to give birth visits hospital and isn’t given the attention she seeks was acted out, this character then loses her life or her baby. This scenario is unfortunately daily bread in most of our hospitals within the country today.

So query is; A year after the Agenda 2030 on sustainable development was announced, How much progress are we making towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals especially Goal 3 targets that speak of Good health and well-being?

According to Uganda Demographic Health Statistics (UDHS),  16 mothers lose their lives daily. This as was emphasized by Rosa Malango, the UN resident coordinator who stated this is not a good image in the maternal health statistics of a developing country.

For a country to achieve a developed status, its health system should be strengthened with majority of services accessible by its citizens.- Rosa Malango

So what then could be the problem?

In Uganda today, 1 in 4 girls aged 15-19 years is either pregnant or has already had their first child. Furthermore, we still have cases where young girls are forced into early marriages without much of a choice to decide when or whom to marry.

These young girls are usually not physically, psychologically or emotionally ready to carry child so they face stigmatizing and esteem demoralizing situations like dropping out of school, they become social disgraces and misfits among friends, they then subscribe to a life of poverty because as their guardians neglect them, they equally have no source of income.

The mind blowing fact is a pregnant teenager will face 5 times the number of complications faced by a mature pregnant mother and as such face the risk of obstetric fistula (leakage from their private parts) and inevitably, they could lose their lives during child-birth.

The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports in her address read by the state minister for health, Hon. Joyce Kaducu said safe mother-hood though may mean improving the conditions under which women give birth, it also advocates for empowering young girls to stay in school and not be swayed away from working towards their dreams. She equally urged parents to invest in the girl-child as effortlessly as they would the boy-child.

She concluded her speech stating that “Mothers are the Nation and how you raise them right from the start will determine their role in sustaining the nation”.

In my opinion; Young people make up the fastest and largest growing population in the country and how we meet their increasing needs will equally determine their future. Safe motherhood has more to it than safe delivery, it goes back to how young people are empowered with information about their sexual reproductive health and rights.

Also you can check out the various projects Reach A Hand Uganda has/is implementing like “Let Girls Be Girls– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBFm-nxHUdQ” and “Better Life For Girls in partnership with UNFPA and KOICA   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKUMXnfOAec

Everyone has a role to play, when talk is about the girl-child, this doesn’t mean the boys have been sidelined, it takes two to tango but for realization of development, every one of us needs to take part in this tango.

Are community mobilizations effective?

For the past two weeks, I have been actively engaged in the #iKnowKati activations (you might have come across it if you followed UOT). Apart from salsa flash-mobs and maybe dance-related activities, I haven’t been to anything that would attract a crowd. I have seen them but usually the more I have, the more I turned my eye and paid a deaf ear.

Well just recently in Lira, #iKnowKati started as early as 9th through to 10th whereas Kabale was 16th and 17th. You would ask why there would be two days of It.—that’s what is topic for this post anyhow.

A day before the concert is usually termed the “mobilization day” where a team of skaters, acrobats, peer educators, organizers move through the mentioned town with reason to make people aware of why they seem to be trailing town.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Before I go any further, #iKnowKati in a lay man’s language stands for “I now know”.         It is a campaign on HIV that emphasizes the sexually transmitted virus; how it is spread, how it can be prevented/avoided and how to live a healthy positive life once a person finds out they are infected with it. Equally the campaign also avails everyone with accurate information that has been mired by myths and misconceptions as well as avail people with information on centres an individual can access youth friendly services like counseling, ART and continued blood tests. Therefore the continued mobilization walk and drive ensure that this happens.

Which brings me to my question. Are community mobilizations effective?

My answer is yes, #iKnowKati has taught me so. See there are many advantages to a community mobilization

First; it has you fit into the community and people in that given community don’t have to look at you like learned professionals who only blubber English that will sound gibberish for them

Secondly; community mobilizations enable a participatory approach. Which community or group of people is going to buy your idea if you don’t have them participate in it or much more have them feel like they are entitled to it?

Thirdly; I wonder how many people will go to hospital for health education which includes; Abstinence, being faithful to your partner or contraception use? Would you? How about if these people that have offices and health centres came to your shop/stall or bumped into you on the road. Wouldn’t you spare just a few of your minutes to listen on what their package entails? I think I would. If not to learn at least to marvel at how young people my age have taken the bull by the horns to work towards ensuring reduction in the prevalence rates of HIV.

Last but one I know not to take for granted is that community mobilizations enable you understand that how we perceive issues based on their sexual and reproductive health is different. I wonder how many times I had heard of HIV/AIDS even recited endless poems about it (it sort of becomes monotonous hearing the same topic) but while in Lira, I watched people scamper for this message, give opinions that were myths conceptualized by culture and society.

I think such drives are commendable for among the people that came up to the tents to take an HIV test, some( if not majority) said reported to have never tested or last tested in a period of 6months back. Therefore what does this mean; that as music booms through speakers, as young people explain this and demonstrate that, as the acrobatics showcase all kinds of spectacular flexibility and the bogey-man (that man that always stands taller than anybody else on sticks oba what… ), the need to actually get out of the cave of curiosity and also the excitement will lead these people to go take a test if at least to be associated with the load of activities taking place.

14358669_1426166584080210_6022043675308207917_n

What amazed me was how thirsty people out of Kampala are also in need of such information seeing that every “free kivulu on HCT/Cancer screening/blood pressure et cetera” is held in Kampala.

csbbkubxyaesatb

 

As I sign out; I would like to leave marks of my lessons.

  • Number one is closer to my heart. Don’t pass through life but rather experience it. TRAVEL
  • Secondly, the best form of information dissemination is in the community during community mobilizations. People learn more when you physically explain your notions than if you hang posters or did a radio broadcast (they are effective, I ain’t saying they aren’t but they aren’t effective enough)
  • Thirdly, to have the HIV prevalence rates decreased, more emphasis should be put in areas away from civilization. The target group is found in the coldest and most rural with a facade of development outline
  • Lastly, Beware of imposing. Respect people when they decline to your request/offer and LISTEN; not to talk back but to understand and empathize.

Okay in other news, we danced, we jumped, screamed and also appeared on national Tv.. 😛 😛

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Adios….

What do you know about STIs?

So yesterday I happened to host the #AskAPeerEducator session that happens every Thursday as a live feed/tweet chat that focuses on diverse topics in the sexual reproductive health and rights field. It is an idea by Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) to have young people engage and be engaged on topics ranging from life skills, career, sexual health and reproductive health coupled with rights. I should further emphasize that it is a platform whose main goal is to differentiate the truth from the myths and misconceptions as well as have young people having access to well researched, age-appropriate and scientifically proven information from experts, peer educators and invited guests.

My discussion was centered mainly on everything about STDs and STIs and how they have affected young people today. So let’s start from the beginning and this here i write in relation to the questions that came in from those that were tuned in.

What are STDs and STIs? Is there a difference?

STDs stands for sexually transmitted diseases whereas STIs stands for sexually transmitted infections. They both are transmitted sexually as we have been taught however, there is a difference between an STD and an STI.                                                            An STD is usually a result of an STI.. Therefore you can’t have a disease without first acquiring the infection which could either be a virus or bacterial multiplication. Majority health organizations have thought it wise to do away with “STD” because they feel it is a big term as diseases are related to severe and progressed situations that may require either surgery or amputation. They argue that;

what a person is exposed to immediately after sexual indulgence with an infected person is an infection which may progress into a disease if left untreated.

How are STIs spread?

STI are spread through having unprotected sex.                                                                            High risks are mostly among people in a sexual network, people that have sex with an infected person or if one comes into contact with body fluids and blood during sexual intimacy.

What are some of the existing STIs?

There are quite a number of STIs but I will manage a few mentions. These include Gonorrhea, syphilis, Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus, Chlamydia, hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, HIV among many others that inhabit our bodies but haven’t manifested. There is an endless argument about whether candida is an STI. However it is very important to note that Candida is a healthy yeast that is found in our private parts but if there is an imbalance in the acidity of the genital fluids, the yeast multiplies and causes an infection called Candidiasis. It is a most common in women and can be passed on to men through vaginal sex as vaginal bacterium which will have them develop a thrush and inflammation at the tip of their penises.

What are some of the signs of an infection?

Usually some STIs have no signs and a person can only notice them 6weeks or 3months after exposure.

However you could have an STI if; you experience pain when urinating, have wounds in your private parts, have an inflammation of the private parts, itching that won’t stop, unusual discharge with a grey/yellow color, bleeding in between periods for girls, warts on your skin and body pains.

How can I know I have an STI?

You may not be able to find out you have an STI unless you visit a health centre and take the test. It is very important to do this especially if you initially had unprotected sex, got into a new relationship and also for the sake of caution. It is not enough to find out if she/he is HIV negative, it is your obligation to test for any other STIs so that you can access appropriate medication to cure/manage the infection.

What are some of the effects of STIs?

An STI if left untreated exposes  an individual to many risks among which may include cervical cancer, infertility, blindness in children, dementia, meningitis whilst others increase the risk to acquire HIV. STIs affect young people psychologically and emotional because a number of times, they are inclined to stay silent than go through the embarrassment of a gynae check. This further affects how they relate and express themselves.

Is there treatment for STIs?

Yes there is treatment for STIs well apart from Herpes as it can only be managed but not cured. However, all the rest have treatment whereas HPV has a vaccine. It is imperative to stay away from sexual relations while taking medication as well as abstinent a week after the dosage has been completed.

Where can I access treatment?

From my observation, majority health centres now provide youth friendly services to youths and young people starting from consultation, counseling and free testing.Youth friendly centres are everywhere depending on your area of location.

Visit your nearest health centre every other time you have unprotected sex, an abnormal itch or pain in the private parts.

You can watch the video of yesterday’s live stream here –> https://www.facebook.com/reachahand/videos/1410996272263908/

Sex and Sexuality Education: Lets Talk

(if you are here to read because the blog title unzipped a curiosity, please share if you may)


For starters, Sex is how an individual is different based on their reproductive organs and alternatively, it could refer to the sexual intimacy or activity between man and woman. Sexuality on the other hand refers to sexual orientation, sexual identity (of knowing who you are and what roles are accorded to your gender), one’s strengths and weaknesses (sexual potency).

sexualitywheelbig

Recently, there has been a debate making rounds on whether Sexuality Education should be added to the schools’ curriculum and the reason for why it is still pending is because among the majority of the people against it, the strongest opposition comes from the parents with reason of-course;

  • Sexuality Education comprises lessons on how and why people should have sex
  • Sexuality Education will motivate young people to have sex instead
  • Children are still young to have Sexuality Education on the curricular
  • The curricular should be promoting abstinence rather than Sexuality Education
  • Sex is a sacred topic and therefore it is not morally upright to have it out in the public
  • Sexuality Education is vulgar

It is only natural that parents fear for their children so please endevour to supplement as to why “you” or the parents you know wouldn’t support the idea of Sexuality Education onto the curriculum and before we disseminate the myths from the Facts, let us analyze the obvious indicators we have decided to turn a blind eye to.

Are we oblivious to the increased numbers of young people engaging in sexual activity as early as 12years?

Should we rule out that the various stakeholders in the lives of young people are not doing enough by talking about “abstinence” because as far as the current curriculum is concerned, the ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful to your partner and use Condoms for protection) model is taught but with more emphasis on Abstinence? Why then do we have multiple cases of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions? Is it enough that we blame it on irresponsibility and curiosity or should we be actually playing these blame games at all?

1 in 6 births are to adolescent girls and this comes with stigmatization and as a result these young mothers face significant barriers to continuing with school and finding work which puts them (mother and child) in the vulnerable position of a life in poverty. Due to lack of information dissemination, we have very often seen young people make unsafe health and sexual choices like unsafe sex causing transmission of HIV/STI’s and intended pregnancies.

Sexuality Education encompasses components that include; Reproduction, Relationships, Health and Rights, gender roles, sexuality, abuse and life skills contrary to the initial perception that it is all about “how to have sex.” Sexuality Education does not promote promiscuity but rather promotes healthy, informed and responsible behavior. The goal of having it on the curriculum is to promote the full and healthy development of an individual and have their relationships built on mutual trust and respect. It attempts to reach out to young people with the right kind of information and knowledge about their bodies, their needs and most of all their rights and also promotes physical, mental and social well-being.

Majority people however are quick to point out how vulgar certain individuals, schools or organizations are if their main objective is to empower young people in making informed choices in regard to their Sexual and Reproductive Health.

It is the right of each and every individual, every adolescent across the globe to get the right information about sexuality education, contraception and family planning because teaching Abstinence-only sex education has led to a generation of young people who aren’t adequately informed about some of the most critical aspects of life and their well-being.Sexuality education should therefore be age-appropriate and easily available to young people and sensitization and awareness should be raised among parents on what is really entailed in the curriculum.

“An educated, enlightened and informed population is one of the surest ways of promoting the health of democracy- Nelson Mandela