The Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has said adolescents not only in Uganda but the entire Sub- Saharan Africa face multiple intersecting obstacles which often prohibit their healthy development and realization of future opportunities.
He said 38% of the children in Uganda live in poverty and are at times deprived of adequate nutrition, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, shelter and education.
The Prime Minister made the remarks during the Adolescent HIV Prevention and Treatment Implementation Science Alliance(AHISA) meeting which took place at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala on Wednesday.
The objective of the meeting is to explore strategies for stakeholder engagement and strengthen the perspective of policy makers and program implementers within the context of AHISA. It also aims to build capacity in implementation science methods and application.
The Premier said the challenges faced by adolescents need to be solved as a matter of urgency. He noted that over 12% of the children in Uganda under the age of 18 are orphans due to the scourge of HIV/AIDS, adding that a number of adolescents still live in communities where violence is rampant exposing them to many forms of violence.
“The impacts of HIV/AIDS, poverty, orphan-hood and exposure to violence can have serious implications for the future and the wellbeing of our adolescents. The situation becomes even graver when we consider that currently 57% of Uganda’s total population is below the age of 18,” the Premier said.
He said government is determined to support businesses, civil societies and foreign entities in the field of implementation science to solve challenges faced by adolescents in Uganda and Africa at large, so that the adolescents’ agenda can move to the next level.
“Our adolescents face adversities that are complex and wide. We must face these challenges head on with interventions and programs that use evidence and implementation science approaches to influence adolescents’ future wellbeing. Interventions and programs must address our vulnerabilities by utilizing the existing strength and resiliency of our families and communities,” the Premier said.
In addition, he mentioned that government has put in place initiatives such as Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education to cater for the learning needs of adolescents in the country.
The Premier also highlighted that the NRM government under the leadership of President Museveni has been instrumental in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda through adoption of policies and programs that are effective in reducing the disease prevalence.
He thanked President Museveni for being the brain behind the birth of ‘ABC’ campaign, a strategy used in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, supplementing that Uganda has made progress in the fight against the disease.
“The provision of free anti-retro viral therapy drugs by our government has greatly improved HIV/AIDS health outcomes for the youth and their families,” Rugunda said.
The United States Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac thanked government for allowing research initiatives to thrive in the country, adding that Uganda has a lot of capacity in the field of research.
She noted that although Uganda’s HIV/AIDS transmission rate is below 3%, the largest number of HIV cases is still among teenagers, and thus recommended that investment in implementation science is key in enabling the needs of vulnerable groups to be supported.
On behalf of U.S.A, Malac pledged to continue supporting Uganda’s health sector noting that a health population is a foundation to the country’s economic success.
Thursday, February 07, 2019
BY DOREEN NASASIRA