Saturday, 24 May 2014

Implementation of National Youth Policy and SRH & R in Malawi

Since the National Youth Policy of Malawi (2013) was gazetted, not much has been done on the ground in terms of implementation of the provisions that are enshrined in the policy. Among them, the provision of Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS) is one of the key priority areas in the newly launched National Youth Policy. However, not much is being done on the ground to fulfill this.

Public health centres and hospitals are required to have youth friendly health corners where young people should go and freely access services. Most adolescents in Malawi face sexual and reproductive health problems simply because they were, at a certain point in time, not provided with the necessary services. 

Lack of SRH information services in general has resulted into an increase of the total number of young boys and girls who have been faced with early pregnancies, STIs including HIV/ AIDS and other SRH problems. Malawi is also faced by the problem of child marriages and this is mainly a consequence of the scarcity of SRH and R information and services.

Most young people drop out of school because of pregnancy. These are scenarios whereby a boy impregnates a girl and the option they choose is to drop out of school get some jobs to support the child who is usually followed by other siblings. This is exactly what constantly compromises the health of the girl and the children she bears.

Furthermore, some girls find themselves marrying an older man because they were forced to by their parents. Such scenarios are avoidable only when the girls know their sexual reproductive health rights and the consequences of early pregnancies.

Now that Malawi has a strong legal framework that is capable of protecting and enhancing sexual reproductive health and rights of all the youth, there is need to implement and make sure that  the laws and policies are really achieving their intended purposes.

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