In the fight against increased HIV/AIDs infections and unwanted pregnancies during the COVID-19 lockdown, youth and adolescent have been trained on the access of health services to prevent potentially lifelong health programs.
The training was conducted by the Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) under a campaign dubbed, “Every hour Matters” where over 40 participants from different parts of the country were trained.
‘Every Hour Matters’ is a campaign aimed at increasing awareness about the critical importance of quickly accessing post-rape care and calls on national and community leaders to ensure comprehensive services are available in all communities.
Speaking during the training, UYAHF Programs Director, Winnie Apio said that like in many countries around the world Uganda inclusive, the situation of sexual exploitation, gender based violence and abuse has worsened during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Apio said the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities already faced by vulnerable populations particularly adolescents and young people and with the closure of schools, these have been left trapped with their tormentors.
She noted that a number of youth and adolescent have no clue of what to do first after being sexually abused adding that many tend to share with their friends and peers while a few think about accessing health care services.
“We are here to advocate for the need to access health services as the very first action that one needs to take after being sexually abused, this will save the victim from potential longtime health problems. Every hour and minute that passes-by is so crucial to saving the life of the innocent victim,” Apio said.
She noted that the rapid access to health care for survivors of rape is so important because one will be saved from contracting HIV/AIDs, preventing unwanted pregnancy and mental trauma.
UYAHF Programs Coordinator, Norah Nakyegera said that the trainees have been equipped with the importance of accessing Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) an antiretroviral medicine taken after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected with the virus.
“The training of young trainers is highlighting the importance of accessing medical attention within the shortest time possible after sexual harassment. One can be safe in case he or she accesses PEP with 72 hours and emergency contraceptives within 120hours,” Nakyegera said.