“I’m one of those in disagreement with sentiments being created during the COVID19 Period. We are clearly not going through the same situations especially if you’re an Adolescent Girl or Young Woman living with HIV here in Uganda.” A Comment from one of the leaders from the #WhatGrlsWantMovement. The heavy load on our mental wellbeing is a great issue that cannot be oversighted especially when Adolescent Girls and Young Women are unable to access their psycho-social support groups due to Movement restrictions enforced by the State. This has hugely caused under-performances in all aspects of our lives. She adds.
Advocates have felt the urge to reach out to communities for more action beyond information dissemination given the emergency situation however, due to lack of enough Personal Protective Gears, this has become impossible. As if that ain’t enough, the defined traditional gender roles had to also take a toll by drawing clear boundaries on what can and what can’t be done by Adolescent Girls and Young Women Living. Let’s not forget the increased social stigma being influenced by the information gaps on HIV and COVID-19. It’s upon us to break those barriers put up by society’s Myths and Misconceptions
Just when you think living with HIV cuts it, and then boom, there is a single teenage mother living with HIV, who not only has one health to worry about but also the Health of a young baby whose vulnerability is equivalent to that of an elderly person during this Global Pandemic. Overall Teenage Pregnancies in Uganda are at 22%. At this point, it’s only safe to focus on keeping the safety of both of you rather than thinking of extending services to other peers. This, dear readers should be enough clarity on how Adolescent Girls and Young Women Living with HIV should be considered key population in flattening the curve of this Global Pandemic.
Ineffective communication on how to access ART Therapy, Treatment and Contraceptives. “Majority of us are unaware of where to access contraceptives especially since the Pharmacies and Blue clinics in our Kafunda closed down,” Laments one of the members of the #WhatGirlsWantMovement. “Stakeholders need to uphold their role in providing such vital information. Majority clinics open are not only in a far distance but are non-Adolescent friendly, they will tell us how we are the root cause of COVID-19 because of our sins.” She added.
Movement restrictions have made management side effects of accessing contraceptives for Adolescent Girls and Young Women very difficult. Monitoring of the Young women who are under enrollment has been challenge which might create severe and life threatening complications on their lives.
More emphasis needs to be put on advocating for Youth Friendly SR-HR Services. The few open clinics have purposefully been left for one specific department i.e ART Therapy, leaving other SR-HR services unattended to. A comment from a Health Worker from one of the Youth Friendly Corners still in operation.
Advocates; Adolescent Girls and Young Women Living with HIV have re-affirmed their commitment to reach out to communities if provided with basic Personal Protective Equipment for their Health Well-being and safety since it’s not been clarified upon how much health complications could emerge from #COVID19.
A Health Advocate