Dedza adolescents, youth sound SOS over lack of SRH services

Adolescents and young people in Traditional Authority(T/A) Kachindamoto in Dedza have complained that they are being exposed to teen pregnancies and Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs due to the absence of Youth Friendly Health Services at Mua Mission Hospital.

Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) Services are crucial in accelerating uptake on maternal and neonatal health care services in a bid to reduce high morbidity and mortality rates.

22 year old Bertha Banda from Group Village Headman Kafulama, said the hospital which is under Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM), does not provide condoms and other modern contraceptive methods due to their religious beliefs.

“It is difficult for us young people around the hospital because we cannot access condoms and other contraceptives from there,” she said.

Bertha who is Treasurer for Mkanda Bwalo, said the situation has led to teen pregnancies and STIs as many young people just opt for unprotected sex.

Bertha said though other non-governmental organizations are assisting by distributing condoms to young people they are not always enough.

Another young person from the area Alex Chauma, described the problem as “massive”.

“Mua Mission Hospital is surrounded by 61 village headmen so young people are many here.”

Alex called for the establishment of youth friendly health services room at the hospital to enable adolescents and young people to access the services.

Chairperson for Youth Network in Traditional Authority Kachindamoto Charles Chingwalu said a facility which provides such kind of services is Mtakataka Heath Center which is very far from Mua Mission Hospital.

Chingwalu said due to long distance, adolescents and young people are not able to go to access the services at Mtakataka Health Center.

He added that currently the affected area has two young people who were trained by Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) on sexual reproductive health services but they only provide condoms.

“The hospital is crucial for provision of other services such as treatment on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV Testing services because these cannot be provided by the trained young people in the villages,” Chingwalu said.

Chingwalu said in view of the problem they have planned to engage traditional leaders in the area to discuss with management of Mua Mission Hospital on the issue.

“All we want is a room for young people to gather and discuss issues on sexual reproductive health. The hospital has Health Surveillance Assistants who can also assist in providing the services in their areas,” he said.

Bwalo forums were formed through Every woman Every Child _EWEC Social Accountability project being implemented by Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO), Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) and Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) with financial support from UNICEF.

The project is aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal and child mortality rate in the country as well as improve service delivery among the youth.

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