There is need for the coordination among all the key stakeholders and service providers to ensure improved youth and adolescents’ access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) information and services at the health facility and community level.
Speaking this during stakeholders advocacy and public debate , the Executive Director for Chipembere Community Development Organization( CCDO), Dalitso Chiwayula said over 40% of young people lack access to SRHR information and services such as contraceptives, STI treatment and psycho-counseling in the event of sexual violence.
“ If the health service providers are not effectively responding to the young people’s SRHR needs where else should these marginalized groups expect to access their health and support services” Chiwayula queried.
Concurring with Chiwayula , Patricia Garciano, peer educator from Sub Traditional Authority Maggie said most of her peers shy away from seeking health service from the facilities due to negative attitude from health service providers.
Responding to the questions raised at the SRHR debate the health officer , Madalitso Banda from Bvumbwe Health Centre was quick to say that as service providers they were committed to providing quality health service for the general public and the young people in particular, however; the challenges hindering the provision of services at the facility are lack of a private room designated for the youth and medicine for STIs treatment.
“We must admit that we have recently sent back young people seeking STI treatment at Bvumbwe health center since we are running of stock medicine for STI treatment for some months now,” said Banda ,sending out SOS for the responsible authorities at district level.
“Due to lack of Youth Friendly Health service Corner, we allocated Saturday as a special day for the youth and adolescents to access services at health Centre. However, we feel there is need to have a special room for the young people. Therefore, we are asking some well-wishers for support towards this initiative”.
Among the stakeholders at the debate were health service providers, Bvumbwe Police under Victims Support Unit, teachers and male champions.
CCDO is implementing a one year project in 5 Group Village Headmen in T/A Bvumbwe, Thyolo district with financial support worth $25,000 from Hivos.