Health Focus

Adolescents are among the most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS, They remain the poorest and they are the easily misguided due to lack of experience in life skills. Therefore they take up the highest burden of all the problems of every situation in life of a Ugandan. Uganda is one of the lowest developed countries in the world, with the lowest per capita incomes and poor population whereby 31% live under poverty line.

a. 31% of the population live under poverty line. About 85% of the people in Uganda are peasants who depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. A survey demonstrated how young girls who get premarital sex and pregnancies indicate that they do so because they get simple gifts in exchange for unprotected sex as a way of winning financial support from the men as a means of survival.

b. The life expectancy is 52 years, this early death in relationship with fertility rates leads to many children being left as orphans at an early age.

c. Gender Based Violence in Uganda is at 68% for females and 20% for males. This type of violence becomes hard to control when it is at domestic level. The effects can be observed when the children fail to get parental guidance and care, which results into street children and uneducated youth.

d. Fertility rates are high in Uganda at 6.7 per women. Only 18% of women are married and apply modern contraceptive methods. This is because of lack of nearby facilities but also due to lack of education. 435 out of 100,000 women die while producing. This is because of the low antenatal health care services. Records at most hospitals indicate that 28% of the women who attend to antenatal clinics in Uganda are below the age of 18 years. Such young girls, despite the fact that they are supposed to care for their babies, they are not allowed under the international labor laws to have gainful employment.

e. According to the UNHS in 2005 and 2006 more than 2.1 million children in Uganda are vulnerable which represents up to 13. 1% of the young people in Uganda. According to the records of Uganda Beau Roux of Statistics (UBOS) up to 3 million children in Uganda are under the category of Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and 109,000 children are of below 15 years of age, living with HIV is 2.1 million vulnerable children and 2.3 million orphans (National Development Plan 2010 2011 -2014 - 2015).

f. Primary school retention is 53% for boys and 42% for girls while secondary education only 30% of the girls who go to primary schools reach secondary school education at the age of 18 years old (quoted from UDHS 2009). There are high numbers of girls dropping out of schools which leads to early marriages and unwanted pregnancies at an early age.

g. HIV prevalence used to be very high; it has been reduced from 30% in 1980's to 6-7% in 2008.

h. The laws of Uganda condemn any sexual relationships with women who are below 18 years; it also condemns any women who abort a pregnancy which may arise under such circumstances.

i. The churches in Uganda do not allow the use of contraceptives as part of their norms.

To avert these problems, Educate A Child International (EACI) is and through GBEM and community clubs:

•             Creating awareness on Hepatitis B and HIV and AIDS.
•             Supporting and empowering youth to identify and address health related risks.
•             Holding meetings with the public.
•             Holding radio talk shows.
•             Composing sensitisation songs through GBEM clubs.
•             Arranging for debates and competitions between schools.

•             Circulating information, communication and educational materials.