21 Oct 2019
Youth advocates push health policy in Uganda
By Nicholas Niwagaba, Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV & AIDS (UNYPA) Executive Director
In Uganda, young people in all their diversity are actively involved and leading in policy decision-making. The Ugandan Network of Young People Living with HIV (UNYPA), where I am Executive Director, has been journeying with GNP+ through the Bridging the Gaps (BtG) programme and invested in equipping young people with advocacy skills to effectively participate in key policy meetings and processes in Uganda, aimed at ensuring the specific needs of young people living with HIV are recognised and addressed.
Young people and adolescents (10 to 24 year olds), especially young women and young people among key populations (sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people and men who have sex with men), continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. Currently, over 30% of all new HIV infections globally are estimated to occur among young people aged 15 to 25 years. This is twice as high among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and among young people from key populations. This points to the need to increase the meaningful engagement and involvement of young people in defining and designing programs aimed at improving their health.
This year has been an active one for UNYPA youth advocates. With the support of all our partners, including BtG, we have:
UNYPA have mobilised support from partners domestically and internationally along with GNP+ and other partners to strengthen our network and programming to service young people living with HIV, and in particular to push for quality services. The Bridging the Gaps support from GNP+ has contributed to equipping young people with the effective advocacy skills so we can speak up and speak out on issues that matter to us.
Young people are actively involved and leading the advocacy in Uganda and creating impact for young people.
The dedicated page on COVID-19 brings together information, resources and most importantly the many inspiring ways our communities are responding and taking action to protect the rights of people living with HIV.