Programme Manager for Kalondolondo, Jephter Mwanza has said the youth could be more productive if they had unlimited access to reproductive health services in the country.
Mwanza made the observation on recently in Mangochi during a dissemination of an assessment on youth friendly health services interface meeting conducted by Namwera Aids Coordinating Committee (NACC). The assessment was done in 15 health facilities across the district.
“From the results of the community assessment conducted on youth friendly health services, it is quite clear that youth friendly health services are quite essential and can contribute substantially to the well – being of the youth,” Mwanza said.
Mwanza, however, said there was need to modify some of the approaches in the youth friendly services package to enable more youths have access to the services, noting that there was little confidentiality among most service providers.
He said most youths did not have access to post test clubs due to long distances between health facilities, noting that out of seven facilities, only one met the standard requirement on quality for youth friendly health services.
“It has also been seen that availability and quality recreational facilities is essential to attract the youth to such services,” Mwanza said. “There is also need to change community attitude towards youths and their health since most think if the youth have access to sexual reproductive health (SRH) services then it would promote promiscuity.”
On this note, Mwanza encouraged hospital advisory committees and service providers/health workers to work closely together for harmonization of youth friendly health services.
Traditional Authority Chowe commended Kalondolondo for the assessment, arguing that the findings would increase the level of youth participation in support groups especially after undergoing HTC.
Chowe added that the results of the assessment would also help in coming up with long term solutions to many problems facing the youth in general and the health sector in particular. However, he emphasised that it was important to encourage abstinence among the youth.
Mangochi Civil Society Network Chairperson, Aggrey Mfune observed that the assessment would act as a wake – up call to the council to work towards improving in its service delivery in line with the decentralization. He said the findings of the research were crucial since the youth were making up close to 50% of the country’s population.
“I guess the overall goal of an assessment of this nature is to ensure that the district continues to strive at developing alongside other councils and that in the end the winner is the rights holder,” Mfune emphasised.
Some of the key findings of the assessment included, poor quality or no specific infrastructure of youth friendly health service, use of abusive language by some medical staff and lack of SRH training for health workers which affects information dissemination on SRH, among others.
Kalondolondo project which consists of Plan Malawi, CONGOMA and Action Aid provides technical expertise and financial support on Comprehensive Community Score Card to rate various social services being provided by different service providers.
The Kalondolondo initiative is an important voice to the community to take service provider to task on how they can improve on various activities and perfect on what is seen as the best option in a win – win situation between the rights holder and the duty bearer. It mostly analyses the health, education and agriculture sectors.
Meanwhile, Mwanza disclosed that Kalondolondo had secured funding to assess how consumers were rating services provided by the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi and the three water boards of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. He said the assessment would be conducted between January and April.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :