Patrick Mwesigye

Patrick Mwesigye - 2016 Nominee
Position: Founder
Organization: Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum - UYAHF
Patrick Mwesigye is a founder of Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum - UYAHF. He is also a pioneer of African Youth and Adolescents Network (AfriYAN). – Francis Kessy, Co-Founder at Youth For Change
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

As a passionate SRHR activist and advocate, I believe in this era and age, all pregnancy and child birth should be by choice and not by chance. All sexually active women and men should you have expanded access to family planning information, services and supplies and should be able to delay and prevent pregnancy.

I have worked to contribute to this goal by; empowering communities on the need to use family planning services to prevent and delay pregnancy to as well as advocating to government and policy makers on the need to expand access to family planning services for young people and address the questions of information gaps, availability and affordability. As a youth representative, I was part of the development process for the National cost implementation plan for family planning.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

The need to address pregnancy and child birth as the leading causes of death among adolescent girls. These pose an obstacle to the potential of millions of young girls especially from poor backgrounds, who succumb to morbidity, mortality, discrimination, school dropout and HIV infection.

With the right investments like access to family planning services & information, young and girls will make a successful journey through this critical period, by keeping in school and delay childbearing.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

The major challenge i have encountered is convincing my government to priorities investment that ensures access to family planning for young people through addressing the issues of access, availability, affordability and the information gap and matching these investments with commensurate resources.

In most cases even when gov't commits to increasing young people's access to family planning services and information, such commitments are not backed with realistic plans and budget resources.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

Uganda's major challenge is access. There are millions of women & girls who are sexually active, don't want to get pregnant but are not using any contraceptive method.
This is mainly due to myths and misconceptions about contraceptives use, lack of youth friendly services, negative attitudes by health workers, restrictive laws that bar teenagers from access services without consent of parents.
Hence need to focus on intentions that address information gaps, youth friendly services and laws.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

Five years from now, i want my gov't to have a specific action plan for increasing access to contraceptive services for young people with focus on women & girls from poor and vulnerable communities. This should address issues of information gap, laws, and youth friendly services.

I also want to train mentor and empower 50 local family planning champions who will establish and lead family planning community support groups whose role will be to encourage contraceptive use among communities.

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