SAFAIDS /BMT train young people on accessing sexual health services

By Rutendo Mapfumo


A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation, SAFAIDS Zimbabwe, in partnership with a Hwange-based,
Buwalo Matalikolo Trust (BMT) have trained 12 youths to handle sexual reproductive health issues
with an emphasis on tackling the stigma that exists in accessing such services among youths in
Hwange urban area
The training held in Victoria Falls recently targeted young people of ages of between 15 -24 years.
This follows concerns over increasing numbers of teenage pregnancies, and as well as a rise of cases
of child abuse in Hwange district.
In an interview, the BMT director Anna Mandizha – Ncube, said the trained young people would be
working towards removing barriers that existed regarding the youths in accessing reproductive
health services.
“We were training young people of between 15 -24 years to be sexual reproductive health
champions in our communities, we call them social accountability monitoring agents (SAM)” said
“These young people shall be operating hand – in – hand with officials from the Ministry of Health
and Child Care, BMT/Safaids and health personnel from St Patrick's Hospital in Hwange. They shall
be championing in removing (stigma) barriers among the young people in accessing reproductive
health services within Hwange urban centre,” she said.
Young people face many challenges in accessing sexual reproductive health services.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care through its National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive
Health Strategy (ASRH), now allows adolescents to access contraceptives at public institutions such
as clinics and hospitals. However, there are concerns from various societies that the youth were not
too eager to collect contraceptives in full view of the public.
Ncube stressed that the welfare of young people was necessary and crucial. Hence there was a need
for their protection.
“For us as an organisation, the young people are very important. They are still healthy and
productive in the economic sectors.
“It is therefore important for the country to invest in young people so that, as a nation we shall get
returns from the investments we would have invested on young people”
“We already have a number of young people having early sexual derbies. That poses health and
economic challenges for us as families to national levels.
“It is important for us to focus on the young person because the young people are our tomorrow's
future. Let us help each other to take care of our tomorrow, today,” said Ncube.
The SAFAIDS and BMT are already working with community leaders to identify the SAM champions.

Meanwhile the SAM champions are collecting data which shall help in the accessibility of
information on SHRH.
“We are using the MobiSafaids application as an information gathering tool. The young people who
want to access or have accessed sexual reproductive services are expected to use the application on
their mobile phones. They will feed the experiences on how the Ministry of Health and Child Care
have been offering services to young people,” she said.
Hwange is the second site in Zimbabwe where they are implementing a social accountability
monitoring project under funding from Sweden.
During the training, SAFAIDS was represented by Ashley Ngwenya – its programmes officer. Various
other stakeholders who included officials from the Hwange District Development office also

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