About eighty percent of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30 and about half are below the age of 24 making Uganda one of the countries with the youngest population in the world. By age 19 over 70% of adolescent girls are sexually active; almost half of the women become pregnant before age 18, by the time they are 20 two thirds have had a child; by age 18, 56% of woman are married; Adolescent pregnancy rate is 43%; 33.3% of maternal deaths are adolescents and adolescent contraceptive prevalence is 7.2% while national is 15%.
The Uganda National Adolescent Health Policy defines adolescents as people between the ages of 10 and 19 years and they represent about 25% of the population of Uganda. Teenage pregnancy and motherhood is a major health and social concern in Uganda because of its association with higher morbidity and mortality for both the mother and child. The risk of maternal death is higher in adolescents than in older women. In addition, pregnant adolescent girls are more susceptible to pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications because of their physical immaturity required for a healthy pregnancy. Other common associated medical problems include obstructed labour, eclampsia, fistula, low birth weight, stillbirths and neonatal death. In addition to the physiological risks, there is a negative effect on the socioeconomic status of the mother, and hence the child. The current school policy is to have pregnant girls terminate their education and yet the boy who made the girl pregnant is allowed to continue with school and this policy affects the girl’s future permanently.
It is against such a background that World Action Fund (WAF) local NGO in Arua district, Uganda with the vision to have a community in which women and children are fully empowered to be self-reliant thought about focusing on adolescent health. We feel that the proposed project is in line with the areas of interest of your organization and that together we can cause a change.
We have taken an initiative of supplying micronutrients and deworming tablets to children age
6-56months in Omugo health centre IV and Odupi Health centre III in Arua district with support from Vitamin Angeles USA
Omugo Health Centre IV a referral hospital needs support for rehabilitation and fixing of drainage and theatre for effective operation, the health centre serves over 250,000, but lacks power, refrigerator, the standby generators needs service and it’s not working, the solar system requires replacement, the patients use poor hurricane lamps and doctors use torches in minor theatre for surgical operations.
Psycho Social and Rehab
WAF planned rehabilitation program for juveniles in Arua Juvenile prison in Gili Gili, many youths have abandoned schools and resorted to stealing and engaging in criminal activities either due to lack of proper care or peer influence. The centre lacks rehabilitation and recreation facilities, the youths to need to change their lives need adequate support and counselling. The government of Uganda has built the rehabilitation centre to serve the West Nile region.
With the support of Tools With A Mission UK, we received an assortment of vocational tools and wheels chair, which have helped the both Disabled People and youths in self-help employment, and with more support expected from partners for PWDs in wheel chair donation from Walk About Foundation UK
Executive Director (Peter Odama) of WAF posing with a wheel chair beneficiary in Ullepi in Arua district
Menstrual hygiene management
Menstruation is still a taboo in Uganda and its common for people across society to feel uncomfortable about the subject. There is lack of information of the process of menstruation and proper requirements for managing it. The taboos surrounding this issue in the society prevents girls and women from articulating their needs and the problems associated with poor menstrual hygiene management have largely been ignored or misunderstood.
Mrs. Amaguru Doreen our Hygiene promotor and specialist emphasized that menstrual management is a social issue that cannot be addressed by working in schools alone, in order to ensure that adolescent girls and women have the necessary support and facilities, it’s important that wider society, communities and families must challenge the status quo and break the silence around menstruation. Girls drop out of school and get married because they have experienced adulthood, which is a wrong persception.
People with Disabilities
The rural areas of West Nile districts are so remote that the chances of rehabilitation of the disabled children are grim. Though the literacy rate is high the disabled rehabilitation is still in it’s infancy. Our donor Walk About Fundation UK offered support to 290 PWDs to serve the needy vulnerable diables with aid of wheel chairs and tricycles to improve on the mobility of these beneficiaries, alot is desired for physiotherapy.
People have no idea on what kind of intervention can be given to such group of children. Even now the deaf/dumb/blind/multiple disabilities, children are put in either school for the deaf, blind and later terminated from there, due to their dual/multi-sensory loss. Because of the ignorance even the professionals and the clinicians are recommending these children to schools for the mentally retarded. But the irony in these children are not mentally retarded but need certain training in communication skills using other residual skills.
The income levels of the families of most of these children are average and most people are dependent on traditional subsistence agricultural works. Due to the time wasted in shuttling their children to various institutions thereby losing their time, these parents are looking out for organizations which would provide all services needed for their children under one roof.