Young people are diverse and so are their sexual and reproductive health needs. These people require information and/or access to modern and emergency contraception, HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing and treatment, safe abortion, post abortion care as well as gender-based violence and harmful practices counselling. However, the attitudes, beliefs and skills of service providers are key determinants of whether these young people receive SRHR services and information or not.
Family Medical Point conducted training for nurses and midwives from selected facilities near Nkumba University. The training brought together 15 nurses and midwives to discuss and have a clear understanding of how to effectively offer youth friendly SRHR services and the use of social media regarding promotion of family planning services under the Young Empowered and Healthy (YEAH) Project.
Polyne Nabwire, a social media professional, influencer, and advocate for sexual and reproductive health from Tusitukire Wamu organization facilitated the one day’s training at Family Medical Point Programs office.
In Ms. Amon, the YEAH Project Manager’s opening remarks, she appreciated the nurses for their resilience in solving the health needs of young people. She also briefed them about the project and asked the nurses to embrace social media, the normal new and best channel to reach out to young people. This was followed with myths burster sessions where nurses and midwives shared myths and misconceptions about family planning presented to them by students.
They also shared facts on family planning and came up with strategies to manage popular online myths and misconceptions. The team agreed to develop youth friendly social media content and strategies to improve sustainability for contraceptives and family planning commodities.
The event climaxed with an exciting practical training on social media use where different applications like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were installed in the phones of 10 nurses. A YEAH project Nurses/ Midwives WhatsApp group was also created to teach the nurses and midwives how to respond to WhatsApp messages from young people in need of SRHR services. This group will as well be used to coordinate referrals for those with complex issues.
At the closing of the meeting, 99% of the participants with smart phones had created accounts and were able to share Facebook posts, tweets and retweets as well as respond to messages on all the targeted social media platforms using the YEAHProject hashtag..
Most participants were excited to use social media for the first time and committed to use these platforms for creating awareness about contraceptives so as to enable young people make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.