On 16th December 2020, Y+ Global through its partner the Uganda network of young people living with HIV led the Anglo-phone Africa consultation for the global fund strategy development. This is one of the several consultations happening all over the world to ensure that voices of young people are being heard. The strategy is established on the overarching vision, mission and objectives that guide the Global Fund work. It also includes ambitious goals and targets to measure progress. The strategy Primarily points out the need for rapid reduction of HIV mortality and incidence through scaling up Universal access to HIV Prevention and Treatment, rapid reduction of TB, TB-HIV and MDR-TB incidence and related mortality through universal access of high quality care and prevention and; to scale up and maintain interventions to reduce malaria transmission and deaths and support countries to eliminate malaria.
In May 2019, the Global Fund Youth Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) commenced its structural function, this was marked as a huge milestone for the Civil Society, Youth led and Youth focused Organizations. For the first time three Youth representatives were voted to represent the views of the Youth constituency at the Global Fund National steering committee.
Meet the three Youth representatives from (Left): Ms. Patricia Humura a Youth Rep from Kigezi Region, Mr. Arafat Kabugo from Naguru Teenage Health Information Centre and Ms. Nakato Martha Clara from UNYPA (Right) to the Uganda Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund.
We acknowledge the strides that the countries have improvised within their structures to give full participation for the young people within the processes for example in Uganda, the youth constituency to the global fund CCM is coordinated by Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV-UNYPA which has been fundamental in delivering to the needs of young people affected by HIV, TB and malaria however;
The young people opened the consultation with a debate on the effectiveness of the Global Fund Programs on the mentorship, development and actual funding of young people led organizations. The voices were loud and clear that the technocracy in the global fund process is indirect mental bullying for the young people and hinders full participation as it down plays the role of the youth Constituencies.
“Yes, we have HIV Services from our experience in Uganda as TASO one of the Principal Recipients of the Global Fund Grants provides Services on behalf of the Civil Society and Government created a systemic approach to HIV service provision through the line Ministries yet, Youth-led and Youth-focused Organizations were continuously left behind in Planning and implementation processes of Global Fund Programs and Activities.” Nicholas Niwagaba, Executive Director Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV.
During the discussions, the young people mentioned that in many cases community led interventions to HIV service delivery have proved to be more effective in reaching young people with information and services for as long as they are available. The community led initiatives possess stronger mobilization tools to infiltrate young people even in hard to reach areas.
Youth Friendly Corners- Safe Haven for Young People.
The young people who were participating went ahead to interrogate the efficiency and effectiveness of the youth friendly corners where they are available: are they really friendly?
Youth representatives on the Uganda Country Coordinating Mechanism #UCCM have been engaged in series of activity community monitoring in Karamoja Sub-region and the ratio of Youth friendly corners to Health Centers service delivery was 1:10 as reported by Arafat Kabugo a Youth Rep on the UCCM.
In addition, Sam Mubiru mentioned that the Government opposed existing Youth friendly corners as they were taken as private initiatives, “We needed to train more Health workers and Peer supporters to deliver quality youth friendly services”. He added.
“During my reign as the Y+ Beauty Queen 2019/20, I got an opportunity to travel in different parts of the Country but never did I come across any Youth friendly corners supported by the Global Fund and yet privacy and confidentiality are key principals of quality Youth Friendly services,” Nabanoba Alice Vivian
Young people also believe that more needs to be done to celebrate full inclusion. “We are celebrating the accelerated meaningful engagement, empowerment of YPLHIV there is still underlying stigma and discrimination and now the domination of YPLHIV creating the notion that GF processes, and programs is for YPLHIV. We need to create and fund and strengthen platforms that promote inclusiveness” Bridget Juuko
Sam and Vivian believe that more can be done to include young people living with disabilities in the delivery of HIV services. They suggested that capacities should be built for sign language interpreters, an intervention that could bridge the HIV communication gap amongst Young People in Uganda.
Shakira Namwanje delivered an appeal to increase the reach of HIV Prevention services through enabling accessibility, availability and cost-effectiveness of these services to ensure the wide coverage of young people.