Issue 719 - Page 18

News ANALysis
A young girl getting access to SRH services through TIKO

Katanga : Where girls give birth before 18 years

New digital platform aims to help the girls get contraceptives and information

By Patricia Akankwatsa

Katanga is an urban slum situated on a flood plain between Makerere University and Mulago Hospital It is home to approximately 20,000 people , living in wood , mud and brick homes .

Slim channels weave between these structures , often alongside open sewage , mostly stagnant until heavy rains and the subsequent floods come to disperse the sewage throughout the pathways and , not uncommonly , in residents ’ homes .
Lots of small businesses selling fruit and vegetables , porridge , rice and beans , chapati and eggs ; there are gyms , cinemas , mechanics , hairdressers , tailors , bakers and butchers ; electrical , clothes and shoe shops , as well as those who make bricks , beds , homes and coffins .
Almost everyone works out the front of their homes , speaking , arguing with their neighbours and customers , multiple sound systems with a heavy beat providing a layered soundtrack to each corner of Katanga , and a medley of foods creating a unique aroma throughout the day and late into the evening . People are drinking the local Waragi spirit , a bottle of soda or black tea .
There is plenty of joy , parents laughing , children chasing each other and parents and children alike playing various board games .
Most of the young girls ( 15- 24 ) around this place are either breastfeeding or pregnant . There are high rates of teenage pregnancies in urban slums mainly because of lack of access to sexual reproductive health ( SRH ) services and information .
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics ( UBOS ), almost a quarter ( one in four or 25 %) of Ugandan women has given birth by the age of 18 .
This is why the Aga Khan Foundation Uganda and Triggerise , a non-profit company developed the user-centric digital platform , TIKO , to increase youth ’ s access to reproductive health services as well as empower young people with relevant information to fight unplanned teenage pregnancies .
The TIKO Platform is a membership platform that connects members to a range of health and wellbeing offers for them to explore on their terms .
It is accessible to any adolescent girl between 15-19 with a mobile device through social media platforms like Facebook , WhatsApp and Twitter , SMS , and membership cards for those without mobile phones .
The platform is part of the In Their Hands ( ITH ) Uganda programme which is an expansion programme adapter .
16 May . 20 -26 2022