As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, young people in South Sudan through the Youth Action Movement (YAM) have resorted to conducting road shows to disseminate SRHR and COVID-19 information. The roadshow campaign is done around market centers in Juba, for three days a week. Each roadshow lasts on average four hours.
Kevin Abalo John, the Chairlady of the Youth Action Movement (pictured above) says that the campaign has reached over 10,000 youth and adults with SRHR information, especially on family planning services and COVID-19 safety precautions.
"With reports of increased teenage pregnancies, the YAM members felt the need to reach out to their peers with information that can help them protect themselves from among others, unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The campaign aims at informing the young people on their right to access SRHR information and services, even during the pandemic. The youth also pass messages about the RHASS Family Health Clinic services and the importance of accessing youth-friendly services at these clinics," she says.
The roadshows have led to more clients seeking out RHASS clinics for information and services. Poni Agnes, one of the healthcare workers at the Family Health Clinic says that the roadshow campaigns have created demand for the SRHR services among the young people and women in the community.
“We are receiving good number of young clients as a result of the road show campaign by the YAM members. They are coming in for condoms, family planning services, STI treatment, HIV testing and counseling, among other services,’’ adds Agnes.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, RHASS would conduct outreaches in the community where they would offer SRHR information and services. However, the with restrictions on convenings and public gatherings following the COVID-19 pandemic, this has limited young people’s access to SRHR information and services, thereby putting them at risk. Through the roadshows, they are now being redirected to the RHASS clinics for quality information and services.
Another factor that has put young people at risk is the closure of youth-friendly centers. Florence Konga, the Youth and Advocacy officer at RHASS says that these centers would help them access information, condoms, counselling and other SRHR services, but with their closure, young people’s access to these important services have been compromised. The roadshows have helped address this gap.