Lack of youth friendly approach has been singled out as one of the challenges hampering access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services among young people in most parts of the country.
This was disclosed during the launch of a two-and-a-half-year project dubbed Connect Malawi in Lilongwe district which will be implemented by Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) in Lilongwe.
Program Manager for YONECO Wezzie Mtonga Kamphale said the project intends to create an opportunity among young people to be in the clinics in order to provide services to fellow youth.
According to Kamphale, there is need to create a conducive environment for young people to have access to sexual reproductive health services.
“There is a weak link between young people and the health clinics so what we are looking at is that young people want an environment which is friendly and inviting and also they want to be reached with peers to influence attitudes and behavior,” she said.
On his part, Deputy Director in the Reproductive Health Directorate in the Ministry of Health and Population Dr Henry Phiri said the project will reach out to young people with the intended information.
“This project is coming in to address challenges that affect the youth and also to increase adherence of ART amongst those who were found HIV positive, so we welcome this project as it addresses those key issues,” said Phiri.
Eunice Samuel from Kang`oma Youth Friendly Services said young people are being neglected because they are looked down upon.
“We are affected just because we are youth, we do meet a lot challenges in our respective communities, so the inception of this project will assist in addressing that longstanding gap,” wondered Samuel.
According Senior Group Kanyoni from Traditional Authority Tsabango, poverty is one of the factors that are leading to high pregnancy rate and drug and substance abuse among young people in his area.
Connect Malawi project which is being implemented in partnership with One to One Children`s Fund is targeting communities surrounding Area 18, Bwaila and Tsabango Health facilities under Lilongwe District Health Office.