AKELLO CHRISTINE 28 years of age is a qualified enrolled midwife working in a remote sub county of Lalogi where the Health Center 1V she works in is located and it is about 145 kms from Gulu Town. Christine, just like most of the affected persons from the northern part of Uganda, suffered from the LRA atrocities that caused socio economic and psychological setbacks twenty years ago.
Christine was determined to excel in her studies with the intention to come back home to support the rehabilitation of the tattered health sector. She strongly felt that the by using the skills attained from training school, she would support her community and this would go a long way in improving the health situation of her community.
One of Amref Health Africas strategic focus is to build the capacity of frontline health services to provide reproductive and maternal health services with focus on women and young people. In a bid to achieve this, Amref Health Africa in close partnership with the Gulu District local government tailor made training programmes for health workers who have championed the provision of youth friendly services at selected facilities. Studies have indicated that majority of young people avoid seeking services at a health facility because of the poor attitude of health workers leading to hostility at the facilities.
Christine is one of the health workers selected by her unit to participate in the mentorship training because she had expressed interest in working closely with the youth. After completing the training, Christine has helped the youth take up free health care services and adopt health service seeking behavior. She has initiated a special day every week at the facility dedicated for health workers to attend to youth. The Health Unit Management has since allocated clinic rooms for youth activities. Thrilled by the positive administrative support, she works even harder. She works closely with the youth every Wednesday as well as performs her midwifery duties in the Ward, Antenatal unit and Labour suite. On average, Christine provides reproductive health services every Wednesday to at least 25 youth.
Christine speaks profoundly of the youth, a sign that she is enthusiastic about her work.
“Working with youth calls for creativity, patience and dedication,”
she says. There are a number of activities that she has established to ensure that the youth are active, happy, approachable, stress free, healthy and bright to retain their attention and minimise incidences where they engage in harmful practices. And to Christine this is what she does best.
Majority of the youth are school drop outs, who attempted family life (marriage) but for some reason or another failed because they were just not ready. Having these services has seen an increase in the number of clients visiting the facility. The facility has for the last one year, since the inception of this program by Amref Health Africa, become bee hive of activities.
“And this has attracted a number of partners to the facility to come and witness and learn from us because even the poor attitude some Health Workers had towards youth has changed for the better, youth no longer fear opening up to the health workers because the dramas, skits, poems, songs and educative videos we show communicate a lot of behavioral change messages which cut across irrespective of age”