An organization called Hivos has expressed concern over lack of information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) among youths in the country.
Regional Program Manager for SRHR Fund at Hivos, Nana Zulu, made the statement at Age of Consent Media Breakfast meeting on Friday in Lilongwe which was mobilized by Youth Network and Counseling (YONECO).
Zulu noted that there is a barrier when it comes to access to information and statistics from Malawi demographical survey indicate that young people have been involved in sexual activities at an early age which has resulted to early pregnancies due to lack of SRHR.
Zulu also pointed out that lack of clear policy of what health providers need to do when young people want to have access to services to SRHR and lack of harmonisation of laws to ensure that there is access of the services are other factors that are contributing on the same.
“Some of the key barriers are for example there is lack of adequate of child and parent communication. Despite the fact that the young ones spend their time at home, parents don’t provide right information to their children regarding SRHR so that when they go out there, they can decide what to do, whether to seek SRH and consult their parents on the same which shows that everyone has a role to play starting from the traditional and religious,” she said.
She then said that although it is a taboo for a parent to talk about sex to a child, there is a need to break that barrier by having a conversation with the young people at an early age so that when they went out there whether it is school, they should be able to make right choices.
On his part, National Program Officer for Adolescents and Youth SRHR in the Ministry of Health Harris Katengeza said that children between the age of 10 going up are being affected by the issue of SRH because they are not given a chance to access the services due to their age especially SRH services such as contraceptives and at the end of the day they are the same ones who are getting pregnancies which is not good to the nation.
Katengeza then suggested that there is a need to reflect on the policies so that adolescents should have access to SHR services by healthcare services providers at the hospital regardless of their age.
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