In the past year, UVP added reproductive health outreaches specifically for adolescents. Teenagers don’t always want to attend the same reproductive health sessions that their parents are going to, and yet they have unique questions and needs that we are poised to address. We’re not just reaching young people through these outreaches, though. They are participants in all of our programming. In February, UVP held an HIV and Malaria community outreach session in Mwendafuko village. The focus was on voluntary testing and counseling and encouraging people to know their HIV status, and we took some time to talk to one of the teenage participants.
Kagoda Safe is a 17-year-old father of one child who shared his motivation for attending the outreach. He and his son had both been sick for three weeks, so he came to find out his HIV status and test for malaria. His wife was unable to attend because she had obligations outside of the village and wouldn’t arrive home until late, but he plans to go with her to the local health center to be tested.
Kagoda talked to us about the challenges he experiences as a young father. One of them is being unable to provide the basic needs for his family, including medical care and better nutrition for his baby and wife. Kagoda and his son both tested positive for malaria and were provided with the treatment, and we talked with him about ways to prevent malaria such as sleeping under a net and how to keep his family healthy. Kagoda was thankful that UVP provides these health and education services in his community. We’re glad that people like Kagoda are getting involved with our programs. We want to reach out to everyone in a community, and it’s even better when a young family can make changes now that will affect their health for generations to come.