Teenage girls in Busia district are accusing health workers attached to various health facilities of harassment whenever they seek family planning services.
According to the teens, the health workers are rude and often block them from accessing family planning methods of their preference.
The girls say that most of them have been embarrassed, which has forced them to shun health facilities to access family planning services to protect them from unwanted pregnancies and infections.
Saraha Nabwire, a teen from Sikuda sub-county, says that they now fear approaching health workers in some health centers to seek advice because of their rudeness.
Exodus Kiza, another teen says that they want district authorities to open youth-friendly corners in the health facilities.
This came to the fore during the district Baraza held at Madibira primary school playground last week with the aim of empowering youths against teenage pregnancies and reduce cases of gender-based violence-GBV in the area.
Busia district has registered more than 9,000 (29%) cases of teenage pregnancies in the last 18 months. Dickson Wamayina, the Busia District Environmental Health Officer, who represented the District Health Officer, confirmed the complaint.
He said that medics often become rude to teenage girls who use smartphones to google information about family planning methods and go with misleading information to the health centers, which they want health workers to use.
“We are in the digital era but there’s no health worker who can leave out what he was taught and begin following unreliable and unprofessional information got from the internet when providing health services. Whoever goes to a health center to get family planning services should always follow the guidelines given to her by a health worker but not use information from the internet,” said Wamayina.
He also noted that medical workers find it a challenge that the teenagers walk into health facilities during evening hours when they are tired. Carolyne Amoit, the Senior Community Development Officer- CDO Busia District, says that there is a need for both parents and other stakeholders to come up with measures of mitigating the use of social media among teens.
Annah Ajambo, a resident appealed to the teens to go for family planning methods that are recommended for married couples.
Abu Baker, the communication officer of Men Engage, a non-government organization that supports youth empowerment in the area, says that they have registered several complaints of harassment from youths.