The youth have a right to reproductive health information to help them make informed decisions affecting their lives, Zaina Nyiramatama, the vice-president of Imbuto Foundation has said.
Nyiramatama made the remarks yesterday at an ‘Open Day’ on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRH & R), at Butamwa Health Centre in Nyarugenge District.
According to Nyiramatama, adolescents are most susceptible to ills associated with sexual intercourse including early and unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, infections and abortions among others.
“The ASRH&R open day aims at ensuring that our adolescents understand their roles, responsibilities and rights and for all stakeholders to understand and implement result oriented interventions,” said Nyiramatama, who also doubles as the executive secretary of the National Children’s Council.
She said that young people need to be covered by such ASRH & R services.
Such coverage, she said, involves increased access to right-based sexual and reproductive health education and services in addition to empowering the young people to prevent self and mutual sexual infection.
Antoinnette Umunyana, a 15-year-old, Senior One student at GS Butamwa, said she first received reproductive health information from her mother at the age of 13 and when her menstrual cycle began, she knew what to do.
“I was lucky my mother made an effort to talk to me about reproductive health as early as 13. I shared what she told me with my friends, especially those without mothers, to help them know the reality before they could mess up,” she said.
Emmanuel Rutubuka, Executive Secretary of Mageragere Sector said availing such information to those that need it will help curb the number of school dropouts and unwanted pregnancies.
“People should first of all plan to have children instead of planning when the children have already come,” he said. He urged the youth to abstain since it is the most effective family planning method.
The event was characterised by voluntary HIV testing for both students and members of the surrounding community.
A similar event took place yesterday at Kigogo Health Centre in Gicumbi District.
A statement from Imbuto Foundation described ASRH & R as an essential component of the country’s reproductive health policy under its five-year strategic plan adopted in 2011.