Saturday, 21 November 2015

HIV Prevalence Rate among Adolescents is higher than that of Adults in Malawi: Why Young People?

A study that was conducted in 2012 by UNICEF indicates that HIV prevalence rate among Malawian adolescents is 5% higher than that of adults.  This is very shocking and this rationalizes the need to intensify our efforts towards reducing the rate at which young people are contracting the virus.

Discussing this issue with some young people, they seemed to be ignorant of the underlying factors that contribute to this shocking revelation. The question that needs to be answered is; why the youth? This issue is indeed astonishing and it is food for thought, not to the youths alone but to everyone in the country. However, the youth themselves also need to be proactive in ensuring that duty bearers are respecting their Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH&R). The youth also need to seek the available resources to prevent HIV infection.

Among other things, Malawian young people surely need two important things; information and services. Firstly, it is the role of the government and other institutions like NGOs that are working in the area of youth development and SRH to ensure that adolescents have all the necessary information about HIV/AIDS. Behaviour change occurs when the targeted groups of people have information and they act upon it.  Secondly, provision of sexual and reproductive health services should also be an integral part of the strategy. This is where the availability of Youth Friendly Health Services in our health facilities should be felt.

Young people are the pillars of our nation, let us all save adolescent young people by making sure that all that needs to be done in order to deter the spread of HIV among the youth is done. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

The Fifth Edition of 19 Days of Activism for Prevention of Violence against Children and the Youth

The 2015 19 Days of Activism for Prevention of Violence against Children and the Youth is here again. This is the fifth edition and this year’s main theme is about ‘BULLYING’. Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has lined up a number of activities that will run throughout the entire period from 1st to 19 November, 2015. The activities are aimed at raising awareness on the dangers and the need to prevent bullying and other forms of abuse which children and the youth are regrettably subjected to.

Among other activities; YONECO will be conducting Theatre for Development (TfD) performances, WhatsApp discussions on prevention of child abuse as well as sending out SMSes to a wide range of people. Furthermore, with support from UNICEF, YONECO FM Radio Station will also run a series of insightful radio drama on bullying and other forms of abuses that are perpetrated towards children and the youth in Malawi.  

The need to intensify prevention of child abuse activities in Malawi is very crucial. According to a 2013 research on Violence against Children in Malawi that was conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare indicates that 2 out of 3 children experience violence before the age of 18. This is heartrending and something should be done to enhance the rights and welfare of children in the country.