Teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections are some of major challenges facing the youth in the country because of lacking Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) information, it has been observed.
This was revealed during interface meeting with key stakeholders in Karonga organised by Kachila Youth Resource Center.
Speaking in an interview, Kachila Youth Initiative Executive Director William Matchona Ngwira said youths in Karonga are lacking accurate SRH information which lead them to contract STIs and HIV/AIDs .
“Youths are dominating the population of Malawi and still they are lacking information related to Sexually Transmitted infections and HIV/Aids,” said Ngwira Kachila Youth Resource Center under the funding from Tilitose has embarked on campaign to provide youths with SRH information in Karonga.
The organization has recruited 45 peer educators in the areas of Mwenehimba and Mweneyumba with the aim of providing information of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) to youths and help youths to access condoms and contraceptive methods.
“We heard outcry of youths who are demanding unrestricted access to SRH interventions within their reach to curb unintended pregnancies and HIV infections. ‘So we are empowering youths with SRH knowledge and providing contraceptive methods within our catchment areas so that young people should not travel long distance to access contraceptives,” said Ngwira.
Survey conducted by Kachila shows there is no room for youth friendly health services at Karonga District hospital. Ngwira expressed dissatisfaction with the Karonga District Hospital which has no youth-friendly services room where youths can find services feely.
“We are looking forward to our hospital (Karonga district hospital) to provide safe space for youths such as youth-friendly services as one way to reduce school dropout rates, early pregnancies, obstetric fistula and HIV infections among youths,” Ngwira said.
He added that his organization conducted interface meeting with duty bearers and community leaders to find the solution to this problem.
Kachila Youth Resource Center has trained 45 peer educators in August 2016 within their catchment areas and has managed to reach 2482 girls and 3048 boys.
Meanwhile, Ngwira has called on parents to be talking about sex and sexual issues with their children.
“You know in Malawi openly talking about sex issues it looks as a taboo but high incidence of HIV and Aids are among youths. We also approach religious leaders, traditional leaders and other community leaders so that they should be open to discuss issues concerning Sexual Reproductive Health,” he said.
In his response, Osward Kalinga from Karonga Hospital said Karonga district hospital still faces a challenge since there is no fund allocated for Youth Friendly Health Services Programs since the funding is prioritized for other activities.
Among participants who attended the meeting were chiefs, FPAM personels, District Health Officer, Karonga District hospital officials, Ombudsman and youth clubs in Karonga.