Saturday, 21 June 2014

Free Sexual Reproductive Health Counselling is Just a Phone Call Away

As YONECO is still cerebrating what TNM (Telecom Networks Malawi) has just done, the youth, women, children and all right minded people have all the reasons to celebrate as well.

The country’s first mobile service operator has donated a set of computers worth MK 2 million to YONECO to be used in the free toll helpline call centre. Further to this, TNM has also pledged a total of MK 4.8 million annual funding to YONECO in order to sustain the toll free helpline services.

The company has set a good example which the corporate world should emulate as Civil Society Organisations and the government work towards the betterment of all people in Malawi.

YONECO’s Tithandizane National Helpline Service provides necessary and rapid support to abused children and women at different levels. Young people can also access counselling on issues pertaining to their sex and sexuality as well as HIV and AIDS counselling.

My emphasis on this issue in this entry   is on the youth of Malawi. The vulnerability of all individuals who are in this age bracket needs no emphasis. Just for the record, the millennium youth are in a fix due to certain changes which have occurred in our society over the last few decades. This has greatly affected the channels through which young people used to get information on issues pertaining to their sexuality in Malawi.

Gone are the days when adolescent boys and girls were sent to their uncles, aunts or grandparents for some sex and sexuality orations soon after reaching puberty. The implication is that today’s young people are relying on half-truths if not outright lies relayed by their peers. These are also young people who have no knowledge or experience on matters of sexual reproductive health.

For precision’s sake, young people have limited opportunities when it comes to getting reliable and alternative sources of information regarding their sexual reproductive lives. The upshots of this sad scenario are very catastrophic as manifested in the shocking numbers of teen age pregnancies and all the attendant problems like obstetric fistula, the country’s teen HIV prevalence rate and teen marriages.

Now, YONECO and TNM have come in to fill the information gap whereby young people, who are usually shy of getting face to face advice from reliable sources, can easily make an anonymous call to YONECO’ toll free line and get all the necessary help they may need. YONECO’s National Helpline Service has experienced and well trained counsellors who are capable of, among other things, offering reliable counselling sessions on issues concerning sexual reproductive health of young people.

Furthermore, I would like to emphasise that the service is not just for young people! When you are in need of counselling, do not falter to call 8000 1234.

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