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पूर्वी अफ्रिकामा स्वैच्छिक प्रजनन स्वास्थ्य सेवामा दिगो पहुँच

Insights from the COVID-19 Youth Task Force


This piece provides insights from the COVID-19 Youth Task Force on sustaining access to voluntary contraception and reproductive health information and care by youth in East Africa during the pandemic. Youth and adolescents need special consideration—while they are sometimes neglected, they increasingly make up a bulk of the population. This article articulates the important role of decision makers and technical advisors in enhancing access to voluntary reproductive health care by youth during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has brought new norms: social distancing, staying at home, and constantly sanitizing. It has been decades since such a pandemic happened globally. This is not only being felt by the health sector but also across the social, economic, and education sectors. COVID-19 is now a common term to many, including children and youth who are missing outdoor games and vibrant engagement with peers.

Youth is increasingly one of the largest cohorts in the current and projected demographic dividend. छन् 1.2 billion young people globally, and it’s an opportune time to invest in them and let their voices be heard in order to realize health, economic, and social progress.

This COVID-19 era has affected seen many investments in health, including reproductive health (RH). As young people transition from adolescence to adulthood, their voluntary reproductive health care needs don’t diminish. Young people are cognizant that if COVID-19 isn’t addressed, we risk being affected by a second wave of the pandemic. This second wave will be due to the impact of COVID-19 on voluntary reproductive health care, including rising cases of unintended teenage pregnancies and early marriages among young people. In the last two months (April and May 2020), we have also witnessed increased cases of sexual and gender-based violence among all age cohorts as a result of reduced reproductive health priorities.

According to an opinion piece by DKT International, manufacturing companies across Asia and Europe where most contraceptives are produced have closed, and others are not operating at full capacity. This has not only affected their production, but shipping also, which has had a ripple in the supply chain system. The majority of youth-friendly centers are also closed in-country, and young people have had their reproductive health options limited.

युगान्डा मा, public transport is restricted and most young people are locked in their homes, unable to access contraceptives. Tonny, a young family champion in Uganda, mentioned that voluntary reproductive health information and care are given less attention because all the focus is on COVID-19.

टोनी मुजिरा, युनिभर्सल हेल्थ केयर अफ्रिकाका लागि युवा अध्यक्ष: "सरकारहरूले SRH सूचना र सेवाहरूलाई युवाहरूका लागि आवश्यक सेवाहरू बनाउनु पर्छ, नत्र हामी COVID-19 पछि बच्चा बूम हुन सक्छ।

टोनी मुजिरा, युनिभर्सल हेल्थ केयर अफ्रिकाका लागि युवा अध्यक्ष

The Role of Youth

Young people stand to be counted during this crisis, and their meaningful engagement is key in addressing their reproductive health needs. As agents of change, they are taking their own initiative to respond to this pandemic.

Through the leadership of the परिवार नियोजनको लागि अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय युवा गठबन्धन (IYAFP), young people convened for a common of goal of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a global COVID-19 Youth Task Force. Being leaders and problem-solvers in their own way, youth have put in place mechanisms to ensure that access to and use of contraceptives and voluntary reproductive health care are sustained.

Insights from the IYAFP task force include the following:

Partnering with like-minded organizations offers peer support

मार्चमा 2020, IYAFP organized a digital Peer Support and Coffee Chat series to nurture a sense of community and peer-based mental health support across the organization’s networks. The first session was attended by over 40 youth who opened up about the issues they are personally facing related to the pandemic and the problems they’ve witnessed in their communities. The session resulted in the participants organizing the global COVID-19 Youth Task Force and a continued Peer Support and Coffee Chat series, which IYAFP now hosts on a bi-weekly basis to provide youth-centered support and community for youth across the world.

Task force members are working with Jhpiego’s youth team to inform and co-design COVID-19 response materials that address the various needs young people are experiencing at this time. With Jhpiego’s support, IYAFP ambassadors’ अनुभवहरू, insights, and ideas for solutions will be shared with the Nursing Now Campaign to explore ways that practical solutions could be implemented through partnerships between nurses and youth advocates.— Victoria Watson, former IYAFP Executive Director

Use of social media and other digital platforms can help engage youth

Young people from the East African Community are utilizing social media and SMS platforms to reach other youth with voluntary reproductive health information and care. उदाहरणका लागि, youth in Uganda who work under the Population Reference Bureau- and IYAFP-led Empowering Evidence Driven Advocacy (EEDA) project created the Contraceptive Google Map Uganda Facebook page to help share information on family planning and COVID-19.

Bridget Kezaabu, one of EEDA’s advocacy associates, says, “We have also used our social media pages to send out reminders to people not to forget their contraceptive needs and to walk to the nearest open facility at least for services. We have also been sharing messages that can build mental strength and build hope in this time of COVID-19.She also shared a personal family planning story.

Generation Guiders, a youth-led community-based organization in Western Kenya, has taken the lead in attending to the needs of rural adolescent girls by partnering with five other local organizations to develop an SMS platform for engaging girls and reaching them with contraceptive counselling and short-acting methods (pills and injectables). The girls that have subscribed to the Generation Guiders database and that of its partners engage in SMS conversations, after which the commodities are delivered to them.

Erick Omondi, the founder of Generation Guiders and a 120 अन्तर्गत 40 Winner, notes that COVID-19 does not only impact girls’ reproductive health, but also their social and economic well-being. To address this, he partnered with a charitable organization, Visa Oshwal, under the initiative We Rise by Lifting Others to receive donations on behalf of his vulnerable community. He distributed the donations to community members to help them overcome the economic strains they are facing due to COVID-19.

हाल, Generation Guiders is collaborating with the local county (sub-national level) referral hospital to provide long-acting and reversible contraceptives. यद्यपि, this has been challenging due to stockouts and limited movement.

Erick Omondi, Founder of Generation Guiders: “We received food donations from the Visa Oshwal Community in Nairobi and we did distribute it to the vulnerable girls in the rural setting.”

Erick Omondi, Founder of Generation Guiders: “We received food donations from the Visa Oshwal Community in Nairobi and we did distribute it to the vulnerable girls in the rural setting.”

Social media not only enables young people to communicate and interact with their peers—it also serves as an information center for young people in Kenya. Alvin Mwangi, a renowned youth reproductive health advocate in Kenya, collected hotlines and contacts from all organizations serving voluntary reproductive health care for youth in Kenya, then shared this information in a Facebook post that has had a lot of impact over the past two months. Young people in Kenya are now accessing the services online through peer-to-peer referrals, and the post has been a contact database for youth in Kenya in this COVID-19 pandemic era.

“All learning institutions have been closed up due to COVID-19. Most adolescents and young people are at home and have so much free time. Online interaction is one of the best ways to interact and get immediate feedback. I decided to create a one-stop post with all the contact information that would be useful in this pandemic.” Alvin Mwangi, Youth RH Advocate, केन्या

तान्जानिया मा, द Young & Alive Initiative, a non-governmental organization, has taken the digital space by storm and has been hosting Instagram Live sessions every Thursday and Friday since March 2020 to raise awareness about COVID-19. They co-host the sessions with experts from different sectors to unpack issues and address misinformation around COVID-19. According to Innocent Grant, a Program Officer at the organization, so far they have facilitated sessions on cross-cutting topics including youth journalism, violence against children, सामाजिक र व्यवहार परिवर्तन, female genital mutilation, mental health, लैङ्गिक हिंसा, unplanned pregnancy, and voluntary contraception for youth. These engagements are essential for young people during lockdown.

Promo for a Young & Alive Instagram Live session

Promo for a Young & Alive Instagram Live session

SafeBoda can help distribute condoms

Young people in Uganda are distributing condoms donated by UNFPA and delivering them door-to-door by use of motorcycles (commonly known as boda bodas) through an app called SafeBoda. UNFPA partners with the app owner and works with the youth leaders who link the SafeBoda motorists to the peer educators. The young people have also developed short messages and animated them into videos to make them more interactive. As they say, “Sex has no lockdown.”

SafeBoda Co-Founder Ricky Rapa Thompson (आर) and UNFPA Uganda Representative Alain Sibenaler. फोटो: UNFPA/Rakiya Abby-Farrah

SafeBoda Co-Founder Ricky Rapa Thompson (आर) and UNFPA Uganda Representative Alain Sibenaler. फोटो: UNFPA/Rakiya Abby-Farrah

Our world has never had so many young people before. How we respond to their voluntary reproductive health care needs today will greatly determine how we achieve health, economic, and social progress. Young people have untapped potential and are the drivers of the change we would all like to see. Invest in them: Let them participate meaningfully in governance and policymaking processes to sustain global development.

Young people are not only great thinkers and innovators, but also reliable partners; hearing and listening to them can go a long way towards securing the next generation of great leaders. As the global COVID-19 Youth Task Force demonstrates, youth are ready to step into this leadership.

पूर्वी अफ्रिकामा स्वैच्छिक प्रजनन स्वास्थ्य सेवामा दिगो पहुँच
एलेक्स ओमारी

पूर्वी अफ्रिका केएम अधिकारी, ज्ञान सफलता, Amref स्वास्थ्य अफ्रिका

एलेक्स एमरेफ हेल्थ अफ्रिकाको क्षमता विकास संस्थानमा प्राविधिक परिवार योजना/प्रजनन स्वास्थ्य अधिकारी हुन्।. उहाँ क्षेत्रीय ज्ञान व्यवस्थापन अधिकारीको रूपमा काम गर्नुहुन्छ (पूर्वी अफ्रिका) ज्ञान सफलता परियोजना को लागी. एलेक्स सकियो 8 किशोर र युवा यौन र प्रजनन स्वास्थ्य मा वर्ष को अनुभव (AYSRH) कार्यक्रम डिजाइन, कार्यान्वयन, अनुसन्धान, र वकालत. उहाँ हाल केन्याको स्वास्थ्य मन्त्रालयमा AYSRH कार्यक्रमको लागि प्राविधिक कार्य समूह सदस्य हुनुहुन्छ. एलेक्स सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य को लागी रोयल सोसाइटी को एक निर्वाचित फेलो हो (FRSPH) र परिवार नियोजनका लागि अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय युवा गठबन्धनका लागि पूर्व केन्या देश संयोजक (IYAFP). उनले विज्ञानमा स्नातक गरेका छन् (जनसंख्या स्वास्थ्य) र सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य को एक मास्टर (प्रजनन स्वास्थ्य) केन्याटा विश्वविद्यालयबाट, केन्या. उनी हाल स्कुल अफ गभर्नमेन्ट एन्ड पब्लिक पोलिसीमा सार्वजनिक नीतिमा दोस्रो स्नातकोत्तर गर्दै छन्। (SGPP) इन्डोनेसियामा जहाँ उहाँ सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य र स्वास्थ्य नीति लेखन विद्वान र रणनीतिक समीक्षा जर्नलका लागि वेबसाइट योगदानकर्ता पनि हुनुहुन्छ।.

सारा कोसगेई

नेटवर्क र साझेदारी प्रबन्धक, Amref स्वास्थ्य अफ्रिका

सारा क्षमता विकास संस्थानमा नेटवर्क र साझेदारी प्रबन्धक हुन्. उनी सकिसकेकी छिन् 10 पूर्वीमा दिगो स्वास्थ्यको लागि स्वास्थ्य प्रणालीको क्षमतालाई सुदृढ पार्ने दिशामा बहु-देशीय कार्यक्रमहरूमा नेतृत्व प्रदान गर्ने वर्षको अनुभव, केन्द्रीय, र दक्षिणी अफ्रिका. उनी ग्लोबल हेल्थ - अफ्रिका हब सचिवालयको पनि हिस्सा हुन्, जसको निवास अमरेफ हेल्थ अफ्रिकामा छ, एक क्षेत्रीय अध्याय जसले अफ्रिका भित्र लिंग-परिवर्तनकारी नेतृत्वको लागि छलफलको लागि प्लेटफर्म र सहयोगी ठाउँ प्रदान गर्दछ।. सारा युनिभर्सल हेल्थ कभरेजको सदस्य पनि हुन् (UHC) स्वास्थ्य को लागी मानव संसाधन (HRH) केन्यामा उपसमिति. उनीसँग सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्यमा डिग्री र बिजनेस एडमिनिस्ट्रेशनमा कार्यकारी मास्टर्स छ (विश्वव्यापी स्वास्थ्य, नेतृत्व र व्यवस्थापन). सारा उप-सहारा अफ्रिकामा प्राथमिक स्वास्थ्य हेरचाह र लैङ्गिक समानताको लागि एक भावुक अधिवक्ता हो.

डायना मुकामी

डिजिटल लर्निंग निर्देशक र कार्यक्रम प्रमुख, Amref स्वास्थ्य अफ्रिका

डायना डिजिटल लर्निंग निर्देशक र एमरेफ हेल्थ अफ्रिकाको क्षमता विकास संस्थानमा कार्यक्रम प्रमुख हुन्।. उनीसँग परियोजना योजनाको अनुभव छ, डिजाइन, विकास, कार्यान्वयन, व्यवस्थापन, र मूल्याङ्कन. देखि 2005, डायना सार्वजनिक र निजी स्वास्थ्य क्षेत्रमा दूर शिक्षा कार्यक्रमहरूमा संलग्न छिन्. यसमा केन्या जस्ता देशहरूमा स्वास्थ्यकर्मीहरूको लागि सेवामा र पूर्व-सेवा प्रशिक्षण कार्यक्रमहरूको कार्यान्वयन समावेश छ।, युगान्डा, तान्जानिया, जाम्बिया, मलावी, सेनेगल, र लेसोथो, स्वास्थ्य मन्त्रालयसँगको साझेदारीमा, नियामक निकायहरू, स्वास्थ्यकर्मी तालिम संस्थाहरू, र कोष संगठनहरू. डायना त्यो प्रविधिमा विश्वास गर्छिन्, सही तरिका प्रयोग गरियो, अफ्रिकामा स्वास्थ्यको लागि उत्तरदायी मानव संसाधनको विकासमा महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान गर्दछ. डायनाले सामाजिक विज्ञानमा डिग्री लिएकी छिन्, अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय सम्बन्धमा स्नातकोत्तर डिग्री, र अथाबास्का विश्वविद्यालयबाट निर्देशनात्मक डिजाइनमा स्नातकोत्तर प्रमाणपत्र. काम बाहिर, डायना एक भोको पाठक हुन् र पुस्तकहरू मार्फत धेरै जीवन बिताइन्. उनलाई नयाँ ठाउँ घुम्न पनि रमाइलो लाग्छ.

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