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Valarie Musavi was at the Africa Health Agenda International Conference in Kigali, Rwanda earlier this month.

What an opportune time to delve deeper into young women’s health discourse as when the continent is fresh from deliberating on matters Universal Health Care (UHC) during the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Valarie at the AHAIC

In this space discourse on young women’s health needs where of priority including contraception and maternal health, coupled  with strong interests at display for instance the Global CEO Amref Health Africa Dr. Githinji Githahi highlighted that in his capacity and at a personal level it is extremely important that we invest in Sexual health for young African Women. It goes without saying that this cohort disproportionately experience the health burden contributed to not only by the unresponsive health sector also as a result of social constructions like FGM, early child marriages and patriarchal institutionalization that overlooks the relevance of gender sensitive approaches in health care thus posing a risk to the wellbeing of girls and women in Africa.

As a young Sexual Reproductive Health and Right (SRHR) advocate in Kenya present at AHAIC 2019 together with the amazing Restless Development team in collaboration with UNFPA-ESARO we championed on the role of youth leaders in holding government accountable via a robust youth accountability session at the pre-youth conference.

The Restless Development team at the AHAIC 2019

Kenya has committed to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals where goal 3.8 explicitly highlights on UHC stating that this means health care services should be  accessible, effective, of quality and affordable ; she has further domesticated this commitment at the national level where UHC is part of the Big Four Agenda under agenda 2 on affordable health care. The practicality of this commitment is illustrated by the governments UHC pilot programs running in four counties within the country where issues relating to sexual health are gradually catching the government attention for example improvement on maternal health interventions through programs like Linda Mama which collaborates with the government to deliver affordable maternal services.

Youth led accountability is significant in ensuring the UHC is a lived reality for young women especially for those in rural settings and of vulnerable status like those living with disabilities and displaced persons.

Accountability seeks personal responsibility thus understanding that in my capacity as a young leader the change which I represent and desire begins with me steering the course to its goal through fostering meaningful collaborations, expressing transparency and linking communities to greater services.

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