According to the UDHS report, the youth make up 55% of Uganda's population. So, if the youth do not have access to sexual reproductive health services and information, Uganda is more likely to experience a population doom than a population bonus in future.
The World Health Organisation defines health as the complete physical, mental and social well-being of an individual, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Sexual reproductive health refers to many factors that impact sexual function and reproduction. These factors include a variety of physical and emotional issues.
The Ugandan Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have done a big role in providing sexual reproductive health services and information to the youths in most parts of the country. However, a gap can still be seen, given the fact that most youth just have a hint about their sexual reproductive health issues, concerns and rights.
It should be observed that the youth are double affected by HIV/AIDS because they can get infected or lose their guardians or parents. Problems affecting the youth include HIV/AIDS, abortions, drug abuse, rape and dropping out of school.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, it is indicated that youth in many parts of East Africa have among the world's highest rates of HIV infection.
On the other hand, young women in the region are more vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies that can negatively affect their health, educational opportunities, and life goals. This is in partly due to their limited or no knowledge about sexual reproductive health.
Sadly, many young people in Uganda have reported to have ever been engaged in sexual intercourse at a very early age, with the males talking a big percentage.
Without proper guidance and availing the youth with relevant services and information about sexual reproductive health and rights, we stand a risk of rising the prevalence rates in HIV infections, unwanted pregnancies, school drop-outs, street children and drug abuse. This will not only affect the youths but the country at large.
NGOs have been at the forefront of providing sexual reproductive health through conducting community and school-based health education. Comprehensive sexuality education programmes help the youth acquire positive views about sexuality, give them proper information concerning health and sexuality and helps them to acquire the skills to make effective healthy decisions. Good sexuality education encompasses reproductive health, sexual development, inter-personal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, gender roles, feelings and actions and HIV/AIDS.
It should be everyoneâ€™s concern to encourage the youth to get involved in youth-related activities or programmes. Reproductive Health Uganda is organising a reproductive health youth camp in December. Get involved.