A Child centred Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Kapiri Mposhi district has bemoaned the low level of access to Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services amongst young people in the area.
Street Kids, Orphans and Widows Association (SKOWA) has noted that young people in the district have continued to grapple with challenges in accessing SRH services from health centres because of cultural norms and unreceptive attitudes by health service providers.
SKOWA Programs Officer, Lizzy Mbwili, has observed that most young people are engaging themselves in harmful behaviour such as early initiation into sex and alcohol abuse and end up contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS because of lack of information and counselling.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS Mrs Mbwili stated that most health service providers and teachers in schools were not receptive to open discussion of issues to do with SRH with the young people.
“Our young people are finding themselves in a dilemma because they do not have where to turn to once in need of certain information on their sexuality and counselling and they are doomed because they cannot also find out from their parents owing to our cultural norms,” Mrs Mbwili said.
She has since implored government to create enabling conditions for the provision of youth friendly services in health centres and introduce Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) education to pupils in schools countrywide.
Mrs Mbwili observed that the introduction of ASRH education to pupils in schools and guaranteed provision of youth friendly health services will greatly assist young people access information on how to fight against vices such as HIV/AIDS, early sex initiation, unwanted pregnancies, alcohol and drug abuse that are affecting them.
She also called for the formation of Youth Friendly Corners in a health institutions and schools across the country in order to accord young people a platform to access information on how to protect themselves from diseases and avoid engaging in harmful activities such as drug abuse.