SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS THE MAIN CAUSE OF VISITS TO HEALTH FACILITIES BY UGANDAN ADOLESCENTS

KAMPALA, A new study has fond that Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) management is the major reason adolescents in Uganda visit health facilities.

The study, conducted by the Uganda National Health Consumers Organization (UNHCO) on adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 years in 11 districts of the country, found that most young people (64.5 per cent) visited health facilities for sexual and reproductive health services.

STIs management was ranked at 23.7 per cent high, followed by maternal and new born health (19.8 per cent), family planning (16.4 per cent), and elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS (4.9 per cent).

Of the nearly 1,000 adolescents surveyed, up to 38 per cent of the girls and 11 per cent of boys were married. This confirms earlier studies which have put early marriages at 34.1 per cent for 18-24 year-olds. This trend, according to Robinah Katiritimbi, the UNHCO executive director, is a revelation of the breakdown in the role of families.

If you have children getting initiated into sex at such an early age points to a crisis. Unfortunately, they are not speaking openly to their parent but rather getting advice from peers, she said.

She argued that much as this is a reality many would find hard to accept, it is increasingly putting young children at risk of infection and counter infection, but also the dire challenges of early pregnancies.

Unlike the common perception of poor health service delivery in public health facilities, this particular survey ranked the services satisfactory for adolescents.

The study comes at a time when there is increasing controversy on the framework of ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services for young people.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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