For young people in Yogyakarta, as elsewhere in Indonesia, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help with concerns about physical and mental health. Faced with changing bodies, identities, relationships and responsibilities, young people need all the support they can get to navigate a successful transition from childhood to adulthood.
That’s where UNALA comes in. Launched in Yogyakarta on 15 July, UNALA is a private-sector led health service designed by UNFPA and the Angsamerah Foundation (Yayasan Anak Bangsa Merajut Harapan) for adolescents and their concerns, including sexual and reproductive health services. The services are delivered by general practitioners at their own private practices.
UNALA is being piloted in Yogyakarta with the support of HRH GKR Pembayun, Princess of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta, and other partners involved in youth and health affairs. If it is successful, the service can be replicated in other provinces across Indonesia, with support from the private sector.
To ensure that the private sector is engaged effectively, the UNALA service uses a social franchising approach. This means it is run as a franchise, with a standardised quality and approach across different outlets, and has a social mission to empower young people to take control of their physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health. The empowerment approach is reflected in the name ‘UNALA’, which is derived from a Sanskrit word that means ‘your ability to make decisions’.
Young people can recognise UNALA-affiliated clinics by the design and signage — each clinic features the UNALA colours of magenta and white, and the UNALA logo, a sign that young people can feel comfortable approaching doctors there with any concern related to their health, without fear of judgement, discrimination or unaffordable health fees. They can also be assured that they will receive good quality information, counselling and services.
UNALA provides accurate ASRH information for young people and refers them for services as needed.
Doctors involved in the UNALA programme have been trained to handle young people’s comprehensive health concerns with confidentiality and respect. The clinics are run as private practices, giving doctors the incentive to encourage young people to use their services and build their business. To ensure the service is affordable for youth, UNFPA has agreed to subsidise consultation fees.
Youth also have an important role to play in the implementation of UNALA. Youth networks in Yogyakarta will take the lead in generating demand for services and gaining community support for the programme. UNALA plans to organize group discussions with youth, facilitated by UNALA-affiliated doctors, to share information on health, and particularly on sexual and reproductive health, as well as encourage as many youth as possible to access the information and services provided at UNALA clinics.
Her Royal Highness of Yogyakarta, GKR Pembayun inaugurated the UNALA clinics in Trirenggo, Bantul regency and Umbulharjo, Yogyakarta.
A UNFPA team visited Yogyakarta on Tuesday, 15 July to launch the service and visit two UNALA clinics that are already open to the public, one nearby the popular Parangtritis beach in the district of Bantul, and another in Umbulharjo, Yogyakarta.
The doctors from the clinics, Dr. Suharno and Dr. Endar Widyaningsih, along with other doctors keen to participate in the programme, joined UNFPA for the celebration of the UNALA launch at the Eastparc Hotel Yogyakarta on Tuesday night. Also present were members of the UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel (YAP), Angsamerah Foundation, and representatives from the Yogyakarta Provincial BKKBN office, Provincial Education Office, and theHealth Office of Gunung Kidul, a district in Yogyakarta. Also present were youth networks, non-governmental organisations, the Provincial Indonesian Medical Association, the Yogyakarta CSR forum and private institutions such as Bank Mandiri.
Held in the hotel’s ballroom, the launch celebration included performances by Yogyakarta-based youth dance and music groups, as well as addresses by HRH GKR Pembayun and representatives from UNFPA and the Angsamerah Foundation. There was also a talk show segment, in which participants were invited to ask questions and join in discussion with programme organisers.
UNFPA, the Angsamerah Foundation and HRH GKR Pembayun pushed the button for the launch of UNALA,the country's first ASRH service using a social franchising approach for young people in Bantul and Yogyakarta.
UNFPA Indonesia representative Mr. Jose Ferraris said in his address that ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services was an essential element of empowering young people.
“Enabling young people to make choices about their sexual and reproductive health has tremendous bearing on all aspects of their lives, including their health, education, employment and participation in society,” he said.
In her remarks, HRH GKR Pembayun said she was pleased with the initiative of UNFPA to develop UNALA in Yogyakarta. She hoped that the model would be able to provide good quality, youth-friendly and accessible services for the young people who need them most. Recognising that adolescent sexual and reproductive health is a sensitive issue for many people, she recommended continued dialogue with parents, teachers, religious and community leaders, and especially young people themselves.
Dr. Nurlan Silitonga, chairperson of the Angsamerah Foundation, gave an enthusiastic introduction to the UNALA service, encouraging young people in Yogyakarta to take the opportunity to fulfill their right to sexual and reproductive health. She said it was the responsibility of organisations like the Angsamerah Foundation to help young people fulfill their rights as citizens.
“We need to help youth to get adequate and better health services to ensure they secure their right to education, work opportunities and health, including reproductive health,” Dr. Nurlan said.
The UNALA health service was launched as part of a month-long celebration of World Population Day 2014, with a focus on “Investing in Young People”. For the full line-up of World Population Day events, visit: http://indonesia.unfpa.org/world-population-day-2014-in-indonesia.
Tags: reproductive health