In Uganda adolescents between 10 and 17 years of age have health care needs that are distinct from those of adults, particularly regarding Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). The unprecedented neglect of their specific health needs leads to negative outcomes such as unwanted pregnancies, early marriages, sexually transmitted disease and sexual violence. Every year approximately 7.3 million girls below age 18 give birth in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) and about 10 million under 18 are married of which 46% occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
The WACENA community-based interventions are aimed at strengthening SRHR among adolescents by helping to reduce such health challenges through making SRHR socially acceptable and accessible. It has long been established that for health services to be beneficial for the young population they need be adolescent-friendly, accessible, socially acceptable, equitable, appropriate and effective for different youth subpopulations as defined by the WHO.
It is believed that for SRHR interventions to be successful they must be compatible with and integrated into the community and existing health care system. WACENA’s goal and approach is to integrate SRSH interventions sustainably in the local community and in local health care protocols.