Editor’s (Me, thank you very much) Note: This blog is to help us address access to SRHR challenges for young people. While we are at it, we need to safeguard ourselves from COVID19, so that we don’t have another challenge on top of the already existing ones.
A famed feminist on the twitter streets called Rosebell Kagumire shared this a couple of days ago.
2: We have seen governments around the world take unprecedented measures to curb the #covid19, in #Uganda, have these measures been inclusive and cognizant of the fact that the pandemic doesn’t affect everyone the same?#WomenAndCOVID19UG
— Rosebell Kagumire (@RosebellK) April 1, 2020
Since then, a series of events have occurred in these near-apocalyptic times. Yes, we get to spend more time at home, with everything seemingly becoming cheaper including Netflix. The challenge accompanying this price cut is the lack of access to the commodities, that, then the LDUs always on a warm-up for peeps in the streets beyond 7 pm. I hear they even sanitize with kiboko lol.
Going back to Rosebell’s well-knit thread, there is a key ask. Did we put into consideration the access to health services and contraception during these times? This fam is what this blog is all about.
In scenario 1 we have bro, 24 years. Bro is a focused hustler who keeps his stuff together including his relationship. He hears of the looming lockdown and knows it is important to protect himself from the virus, so mans goes shopping for food and movies. He reaches home and finds he forgot to buy soap, cooking oil, Vaseline and he has 4 condoms left. I will pick up those tomorrow, he says. He also calls bae to stick around because it looks like it will be long before he sees her again. Bro is a 4 rounder and he uses up the condoms.
The small pharmacy near bro’s crib is closed because as per the new guidelines, it isn’t breaking even. Bro has to go to town, but he can’t get a jaj or an Uber. What happens then?
Scenario 2 brings sis from who just got out of her Aunt Flo check last week (Speaking of which, are you ready for this year’s #MyAuntFloExperience). Periods can be irregular though, and they seemed to have a closed-door meeting with the Corona Virus outbreak, deciding to ambush her again. Now sis had 2 pads left from her previous pack, currently wearing the second one. Luckily for her, the supermarket across the road from home is still open but as lockdown would have it, it is out of stock and this flow is heavier than a heart on a fresh breakup. What does sis do?
Now for sis 2 in scenario 3, it is even more twisted. Sis 2 is HIV positive but is a model for her peers on how dedicatedly she goes for her check-ups and adheres to medication. Fam, that chic has focus. She walks a kilometer and a half from her home in the hills in Mbale to the roadside and gets a boda to Mbale Health Centre just to show she got power over HIV. She has dedicatedly picked her medication from this health center for the past 8 months. Now Sis 2 cannot move. How does her medication reach her?
We know that it is really hard for young people to try to access SRHR services. It is exposing lots of girls to unwanted pregnancies, poor menstrual hygiene, and several SRHR challenges. So while we look for a solution, what are the struggles of the young people in your hood or your circles? Let’s know in the comments so we can solve all the problems together.
Guest Writer – Slyvester Nyombi