The Youth from traditional authorities (T/As) Sawali and Kachenga in Balaka said they have been empowered on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) knowledge which has increased demand and consumption thereby enhancing healthy lives.
Speaking recently during recording of radio programmes on SRH that will be aired on different radio stations in the country, the youth outlined benefits from the SRH project Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM) has been implementing in the areas.
Lameck Henry, Freedom Youth Club chair, said there should be enough SRH interventions within the reach of youth.
“The biggest challenges facing the youth apart from unemployment are HIV/Aids and unwanted pregnancies which could be dealt with if stakeholders intensified SRH education and availability of SRH methods in rural areas,” Henry said.
T/A Sawali bemoaned the absence of some family planning methods such as loop which cannot be accessed in rural areas because health surveillance assistants (HSAs) are not qualified to dispense them.
“Government should do something on this because the distance the youth have to travel to access these family planning methods is unrealistic and it discourages the youth from accessing quality SRH services of their choices,” Chief Sawali said.
Ousmane Chunga, QMAM Programmes Manager, said limited availability of SRH and family planning methods and proper information on the importance of SRH has led to high rate of teen and early pregnancies and youth dropping out of school in Sawali and Kachenga areas.
“The distance from here to the basic clinic is just too unrealistic and many youths are put off,” Chunga said.
He said the youth in the area are seriously in need of SRH services due to the socio-economic set-up of the area.
“This is a predominantly Muslim populated area and because of the social and cultural upbringing, many youth engage in teen sexual activities that fuel early and forced marriages and the spread of sexually transmitted infections and HIV and Aids,” Chunga said.
QMAM through its development arm, Qadria Muslim Development Programme (QMDP) has been running the Adolescent SRH Rights and HIV prevention, treatment and support project in the area entitled ‘Narrowing the Gap; Scaling up Adolescents Access to Quality Information and Utilisation of Services on HIV Prevention, Treatment and Support’ with a K49million funding from GIZ through Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).
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