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Youth-friendly Services on the Agenda

Youth-friendly Services on the Agenda

By Esther Nakkazi

Sister Teddy Namala is a registered midwife based at Buikwe Health Centre IV. She has been trained in the elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (eMTCT) and to offer youth-friendly services to the youth.

PREFA visited Buikwe Health Centre IV and she was still at work past her regular work hours because the health facility is overwhelmed by numbers.

“PREFA has helped us in the retention of care where if a mother is retained in care we expect an HIV negative baby,” said Namala. She testified that most HIV positive mothers now do not miss an appointment for treatment but if they do they facilitate a Village Health worker (VHT) to go and visit the mother.

Namala is also trying to involve men in health care services. But it is still a challenge. “Men involvement is still very poor. I give them priority and also offer them extra services like weighing them and checking their blood pressure.

However, they come for outreach programmes but are reluctant to come to health facilities, says Namala.

But Namala’s greatest joy is the fact that she was trained by PREFA to offer youth-friendly services to adolescents and the youth.

“We had left the adolescents behind but now we know that they are important. They were afraid of us but now with the help of peer educators and youth champions our work is easier,” she said.

During her interaction with adolescents, Namala has been asked many interesting questions. She calls them ‘funny questions’ for instance one young man’s concern was like if I put on a condom and it burst will I make the girl pregnant or get infected with HIV?  Another came with a major concern of his penis being big and the condoms small. She had to explain to him how it works.

“They ask everything. We give them time,” she says smiling. Previously I did not know until I got the adolescent and youth-friendly services training by PREFA.