Friday, 6 December 2013

Consider youth friendly health services…….






A youth accessing health services during YONECO YFHS outreach programme
As children grow up into adolescence, they face new sets of health challenges and dilemmas. Sometimes these challenges are more linked to behavior and negative influences from the environment they are growing up in.
Usually, the youths in this age group are faced with so many temptations to indulge in unhealthy behaviours and practices like smoking tobacco, substance abuse, alcoholism and experimenting with sex. The aftermath of all these seemingly joyful deeds are sexually transmitted infections, early pregnancies as well as physical and psychological imbalances.
Sadly, the direct costs of such loose behaviours contribute highly to deaths of young people within the age range of 15 to 24 year olds.
Despite the overwhelming magnitude of health related problems among the youths, most young people are not aware of the specific health and risk factors that are out there.
This situation calls for intensified efforts to increase awareness on health issues that affect the youths. Young people, especially those in rural areas, encounter in accessing health services.

 Many health facilities do not have confidential and accommodative health services where the youth can feel comfortable to seek the services. The services that are accommodative and responsive to the needs of the youths are called ‘youth friendly healthy services’. These are services whereby the youths are always sure that they will not be confronted with negative attitudes from health-care service providers.
In addition to this, many young people do not have strong financial muscles to enable them to seek health services from privately owned hospitals. Thus, they suffer in silence due to the prohibitive nature of our public health service centers’. Furthermore, the existing policies that are followed by health service personnel often require a parent or husband’s written permission for a person to access some particular services.

Thus, YONECO with funding from UNFPA conducted a number of outreach campaigns in an effort to increase awareness on youth friendly health services. The campaigns were conducted in 5 districts namely Chikwawa, Chiladzulu, Mangochi, Machinga and nkhatabay.

 In all these districts, the youth were able to access different health services like HTC as well as information concerning Sexual Reproductive Health and some youths were able to come to the open and talk about their sero status.
 Youth clubs were also established for married adolescents and for adolescents living with HIV.
A lot of young people revealed that they are always afraid to go to the hospitals to access health services because they feel shy to explain what they want because some health service personnel have negative attitudes towards young people who seek SRH or HTC.



9 comments:

Siyeni D. said...

For sure if we can have the heart like that of Nelson Mandela, we can put the love and passion to help the deserved unaware youth in front of us...that means changing our policies to create health friendly services available and thereby light the torch of A health youth and nation...

Oman said...

Nice article at this time we are remembering Mandiba's Legacy...

patrick Hussein said...

You just did a wonderful job... indeed alot of youths are dyieng because its hardly for them to get access of many services....

patrick Hussein said...

What other ways can u do to help those who dnt have access to heath facilities like those in the rural areas you as YONECO.....

faithzumazuma said...

Thanks Patrick for a good question.The following are some of the ways we use as YONECO;
we empower the youth with knowledge of where they can get health services using interactive tools (ie the aunt Stella pack).
through the Tithandizane child helpline we give the youth information of where they can access health services.
we also conduct community assessment for youth friendly health service as a way of unearthing the barriers which the youth meet to access the health services and we lobby and advocate health service providers at community and district level.
Through outreach programs and we have drop in centers in the rural areas where health service facilities are provided to the youth.

lemani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lemani said...

lemani said...
Patrick,
your question is very insightful. It has reminded me of the right to development which all citizens are entitled to as per section 30 (2)of the constitution of the republic of Malawi which stipulates that 'the state shall take all necessary measures for the realization of the right to development. Such measures shall include, amongst other things; equality of opportunity for all in their access to basic resources, education, health services...'

This is where lobbying or advocacy for such issues come into play. So far, YONECO has been very active in stimulating citizens' power through massive advocacy campaigns and currently the organization is implementing a project called 'enhancing the Capacities of the Communities to Demand Essential Public Services from Duty Bearers'.

As the name of the project suggests, YONECO's aim is to make sure that people in the rural communities know about this right and that they should demand development from duty bearers since they have a legal backing (The constitution of Malawi itself).

In this light, a lot is being done on the ground as the organization is working in partnership with WORLEC in a project that is being funded by DCT.

Thus, YONECO reaches out to such isolated and remote areas you have mentioned to relay strong messages and equip people with knowledge on how they should go about with their development concerns.

patrick Hussein said...

Thank you Faith and Lemani for such directful answers, its like i asked that question because my ear witnessed a certain boy from a certain local area saying some ignorant things which alerted me that many are lucking health talk and services in the remote ares . Thank you YONECO continue work hard for the betterment of malawian youths

Mkozi said...

I think and believe that we all have a role to play in promoting youth friendly health services in our communities or neighboring.

Some of the simple initiative we can take is that of identifying the concerned facilities and staff being the malpractice ill treating the youth in one way or the other and use our local structures like village chief, the clergy just to mention but a few. Another way would be to use appropriate mechanisms like the Tithandizane helplines toll free line (8000 1234.
The other challenge is that in African setting, everyone minds his or her business which is very bad,but we must stand up and identify the culprits because a saying goes ''Today's lie is tomorrow's fear''