Adolescence is the period of transition between childhood and adulthood. It includes some big changes—to the body, and to the way a young person relates to the world.The many physical, sexual, cognitive, social, and emotional changes that happen during this time can bring anticipation and anxiety for both children and their families. Understanding what to expect at different stages can promote healthy development throughout adolescence and into early adulthood.
At 9 million, adolescents make up a quarter of the population in Uganda. Yet life is harsh for many. Poverty, HIV and AIDS, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence and low participation in secondary education make it difficult for young people to fulfil their potential.
Adolescent girls, in particular, face multiple vulnerabilities. Adolescent girls are severely and unevenly at risk of HIV infection – two thirds of all new HIV infections are contracted by adolescent girls. Many girls also drop out of school as a result of unwanted teenage pregnancy and early marriage. According to the Ministry of Health, 25 per cent of Ugandan teenagers become pregnant by the age of 19. Close to half are married before their 18th birthday and continue having babies into their mid-40s.
We are working together with other health sector and civil society bodies to actively contribute to addressing sexual and reproductive health and HIV in adolescents, and supporting them to do so using evidence-based approaches