The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in search for solutions that can help Uganda leverage on her sexual reproductive health challenges, has staked $1million to fund creative ideas of young Ugandans.
The fund will be channelled through UP Accelerate program/challenge, a one year program that seeks to source for innovative solutions to health challenges in Uganda which was launched by UNFPA in Kampala last week.
The program aims to develop market ready, scalable and sustainable solutions in the area of sexual reproductive health by tapping into networks of young entrepreneurs and provide them with seed funding, mentorship and technical support.
“We are looking for original, viable and sustainable ideas that provide solutions to the existing challenges and have impact to society. Participants must have an implementing team and should be Ugandans of 18 to 30 years of age,” David Piga, Innovation and Knowledge Management Specialist at UNFPA said.
He said they are seeking for innovative solutions in two key areas; those that can improve access to essential medicine and health supplies to improve maternal health in Uganda as well as those that can improve the use of open data to improve healthcare planning, monitoring and delivery.
Uganda is one the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the world that still faces significant challenges in tackling maternal health and sexual reproductive health problems.
“28% of maternal mortality deaths in Uganda are attributed to maternal and sexual reproductive health problems and most of these deaths are as a result of teenage pregnancy,” Edson Muhwezi, Assistant Country Representative, UNFPA Uganda said.
Muhwezi said maternal mortality rate in Uganda still stands at 438 per 100,000 people, the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the world.
Therefore, identifying innovative ways of addressing persistent challenges and bottlenecks affecting improvement in sexual and reproductive health in Uganda is in tandem with UNFPA’s global innovations strategy.
“Up Accelerate calls on young people to realize their desire to learn about and contribute to the challenges faced by the country in regards to improving access to, and the planning, availability and quality of SRH information, services and programmes. Investing in a healthier and more educated population and enabling young people to access opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, will provide young Ugandans with a favourable environment to thrive in business and private life, and to make informed and safe decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health,” Muhwezi said.
The Executive Director, National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) said the youth in Uganda desire to be active and resourceful, and that the choice by UNFPA to invest in them was a step in the right direction.