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Youth demand more user-friendly health services, facilities
“Most of the time as young people we fall into a trap of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases because we do not have enough information and knowledge concerning SRH,"-youth participant
Malawi: Youth in the country have requested that the government establish more youth-friendly healthcare facilities in the country's public hospitals, where youth can freely access sexual reproductive health services (SRH).
Speaking on Thursday 16 June 2022 in Mponela, Dowa at the conclusion of a three-day youth conference organised by the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) under the N'zatonse project with funding from KFW, Agnes Kumwenda Gondwe, a youth from Rumphi, stated that as a youth, they want places in public hospitals where they can freely seek SRH services of their choice.
Gondwe said: “Most of the time as young people we fall into a trap of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases because we do not have enough information and knowledge concerning SRH.”
“Therefore we are asking the government to come up with more youth-friendly health facilities where we can freely get SRH information as well as its other services such as; family planning methods and counselling that would help us prevent early pregnancies and other sexual-related problems.”
She did, however, commend the work of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as EAM in promoting SRH rights for the country's youth, but she stated that the government must do more to ensure that SRH services are available in public hospitals through youth-friendly health services units.
In her remarks at the closing of the youth conference, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, who was the guest of honour, stated that the government is committed to addressing SRH issues among the country's youth.
“As a government, we are committed to making sure that we are providing the necessary health services among the youth especially on the issues to do with SRH, for the first time we have an increase in the budget towards just family planning commodities of over 170 per cent,” she said.
“We will make sure that we provide these commodities in the youth-friendly health facilities in our hospitals and we will also ensure that each public hospital in the country has youth-friendly health services facility.”
As a result, she praised EAM for organising the youth conference, stating that it provided an opportunity for youth to express their concerns.
The conference drew young people from all over the country, including Blantyre, Ntcheu, Ntchisi, Rumphi, Mzimba, and Thyolo.