On our journey to enhance awareness of reproductive health rights, services to adolescent girls & young women, nearly all participants stated that local healthcare services lacked resources and medications. Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) were therefore asked to pay for healthcare: from fee-for-service clinics to essential medications. For many, the financial burden was too high. Combined with fear and stigma, some participants stated that AGYW often resort to using unregulated and traditional medicine.
“…when I reach the pharmacy where am to buy the drugs from, the drugs are 30,000ugx and I only have 10,000ugx in my bag, so I find that medication too expensive. In that case, I will just go and pluck some few wild plants and I drink because it is the cheaper option that will help me.” said one parciitpant.
“They fear if they get a problem may be they want to abort, they can use these herbs and someone calls you and says this one is here dying, they say she has taken herbs.” Communi Outreache Officer .
Stories of poor healthcare and stigma associated with sexual health issues were common reasons for AGYW not to utilize services. Many AGYW felt they were treated differently because they were young and poor, and those in duty-bearer positions did not listen to their needs. For AGYW accessing healthcare, perceived lack of respect caused them to shy away from further healthcare. Some AGYW recalled positive healthcare experiences.
“I was given a lot of care where I gave birth from even when I hadn’t paid money but that was in the [name omitted] government hospital.” - Said a partcipant
Violations of rights
Most participants specified that money and poverty played a significant role in the violation of AGYW’s rights. Participants recalled stories of desperate family members for whom money was a driver for them facilitating their daughters to engage in underage sex and child marriage. However, parents’ actions were not always described as seeking monetary gain. A local leader noted that parents forced their children to marry because it mirrored their own experience.
“…our problem is with the parents who force their children to get married fast mainly because the parents too got married early.” by a participant.
AGYW also described experiences where perpetrators with money were treated differently, and a perpetrator’s word was considered more credible than the word of assaulted AGYW. Other AGWY described experiences of attempted corruption of their rights for money.
“My uncle came home and he was kind of forcing me to accept money from him which was 500,000shs and placed it on the table asking me to get the money and testify in court saying I wanted what happened to me.” Said a particpant.
You can help SCOEN to consolidate reproductive health knowledge among rural communities targeting adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) to support demystification of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) myths, misconceptions, increase awareness of SRHR.
Your support is key in solving this problem.Would you consider donating one-time gift of $100 or Monthly gift of $25 to help us to increase awareness of SRHR targeting AGYWs?
Your donation will have an impact on 3200 adolescent girls and young women and will be used to increase awareness of SRHR. Focusing on Family Planning, STIs, antenatal & postnatal services, use of modern contraceptives for dual protection against STIs & unwanted pregnancies among 3200 AGYW.