His Majesty King Oyo launches the Let’s Talk Campaign at the 5th Intergenerational Dialogue organized by Reach a Hand Uganda where the King was Chief Guest. The Let’s Talk! Campaign is a social and behaviour change initiative that aims to reduce early and unintended pregnancies across 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
While addressing the 5th Intergenerational Dialogue, His Majesty King Oyo emphasized that Intergenerational Dialogue is the bedrock for achieving a better future and thanked the organizers for inviting His Majesty to this high-level advocacy platform under the theme: “Teenage Pregnancy and the costs of restricted SRHR information and services for young people”.
King Oyo informed the participants that the subjects of Young People, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Teenage Pregnancies are very close to his heart. The King therefore called for immediate, urgent and accelerated action to address the “silent epidemic” of Teenage Pregnancies which His Majesty said denies the girls their childhood, exposes them to violence, heightens the risk of death at child birth and gravely impacts the opportunities for these girls to fulfill their potential.
The King further highlighted child marriages, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and teenage friendly services, limited education and sensitization, household poverty, sexual and gender based violence, girls dropping out of school, parenting challenges and harmful traditional practices are some of the key drivers for Teenage Pregnancy. To address these drivers, King Oyo called for a holistic and multi-stakeholder approach.
His Majesty King Oyo congratulated Reach a Hand Uganda for annually organizing the Intergenerational Dialogue. King Oyo then requested the Leaders, Parents and all Sexual and Reproductive Health actors to listen to the young people and treat them as contributors not just beneficiaries and provide them with youth friendly services because the young people having been telling the King that “We have a right to be healthy. We want to live healthy and happy lives. We want to be in charge of our Health”.
King Oyo ended his address by offering to host the 6th Intergenerational Dialogue in Tooro Kingdom. The King was accompanied by the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister and Honourable Ministers of Tooro Kingdom.
The following speech was delivered by His Majesty King Oyo at the 5th Intergenerational Dialogue 2019 at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday, 22 October 2019 under the theme, “Teenage Pregnancy and the costs of restricted SRHH information and services for young people”.
The Distinguished Participants, The Speakers and Moderators, The Dialogue Organizers and Partners, The Invited Guests, Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me start by welcoming you all to this important 5th Intergenerational Dialogue.
All generations from the oldest to the youngest, all want a future that is better than today. We need a joint effort by adults, young people and children in finding solutions to the greatest challenges of our time.
I therefore congratulate ”Reach a Hand Uganda” for annually organizing the Intergenerational Dialogue. Intergenerational Dialogue is the bedrock for achieving a better future. I thank you for inviting me to this high-level advocacy platform under the theme: “Teenage Pregnancy and the costs of restricted SRHR information and services for young people”.
I have very close interest in the Subjects of Young People; ”Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights”; and ”Teenage Pregnancy”.
The statistics on Teenage Pregnancy are frightening. Uganda has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Every year, 25% teenagers become pregnant. These Teenagers make up 34.8% of Uganda’s Population. This situation is unacceptable and we must immediately take urgent and accelerated action to address this “Silent Epidemic”.
The consequences of Teenage Pregnancies beyond being a violation of Human Rights, denies these girls their childhood, exposes them to violence, heightens the risk of death at child birth and gravely impacts the opportunities for these girls to fulfill their potential. We are losing our future Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Teachers and Leaders of this Nation. It is therefore paramount that we understand and address the drivers of this vice of Teenage Pregnancy.
Teenage Pregnancy is driven by multiple factors. These factors include child marriages; lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and teenage friendly services; limited education and sensitization; household poverty; sexual and gender based violence; girls dropping out of school; parenting challenges and harmful traditional practices to mention but a few. I therefore call for a holistic and multi-stakeholder approach that addresses these drivers.
I urge all religious leaders, cultural leaders, local leaders, families, teenagers as peers and young people to play your part in ending Teenage Pregnancy by becoming gatekeepers and role models to positively influence the aspirations of our girls and boys.
As a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, I have interacted with several teenagers and young people on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Tooro, Uganda and across Africa on what they want and what they need. Their message is very clear, “We have a right to be healthy. We want to live healthy and happy lives. We want to be in charge of our Health”.
Firstly, I want to amplify the young people’s message and request the leaders, Parents and all Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights actors to listen to the young people, treat them as contributors not beneficiaries and provide them with youth- friendly information.
Secondly, to achieve the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights needs of young people especially early and unintended pregnancies, we need behaviour change.
I therefore want to appreciate and recognize the Governments and Partners for launching the Regional “Let’s Talk Campaign!”, a social and behaviour change initiative to reduce early and unintended pregnancies across 21 countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region which has one of the highest adolescent fertility rates in the world.
It is therefore my great honour to Launch the “Let’s Talk Uganda Campaign”. I thank the Government of Uganda, UNESCO, UNFPA, SafAIDS, Save the Children, Reach a Hand Uganda and other partners for supporting the launch and implementation of the Lets Talk Campaign in Uganda.
I commend all the speakers, moderators and participants present here for actively sharing and contributing to the Intergenerational Dialogue. I urge you all to continue this conversation beyond this Intergenerational Dialogue. Let’s make dialogue, sharing and mutual understanding our way of life.
Dr. Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, King of Tooro