Lilongwe: Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) has supported 8, 000 youth in Dowa District with Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services in a bid to combat early pregnancies and sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) among the young people in the district.
GENET is implementing a project called ‘Improving Girls’ Access to Sexual Reproductive Health Information and Services (IGASI)’ in traditional authorities Kayembe and Chakhaza in the district with support from Amplify Change.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday, GENET Project Officer, Naomi Nkhonjera, said her organization decided to implement the project in the district after noticing that the youth were lacking SRH services and information.
As an organisation, we implemented the project in Dowa after noticing that the youth, mainly girls, had no access to youth friendly health services, particularly sexual reproductive health services and information, said Nkhonjera.
GENET is working in collaboration with 10 health centres in Dowa District which include; Chakhaza, Kayembe, Madisi, Chisepo, Nambuma and Chizolowondo where youth are able to access SRH services and information.
Through the project, the organisation has opened sports clubs in all health centres where they have partnered with the youth who are able to participate in various sporting activities such as netball and football, as one way of diverting their attention from malpractices such as drug abuse and premarital sex.
Nkhonjera was confident the project would help to terminate early marriages and pregnancies among the youth in the district.
Through SRH project, I am sure by 2019, child marriages and early pregnancies will decrease in Dowa, she said.
Through the SRH project, GENET intends to safeguard young people’s productive rights believing that investing in young people’s health is vital for the future of the country.
Health Surveillance Assistant and Youth Friendly Health Service Provider at Chakhaza Health Centre, Chisomo Boxer commended GENET for implementing the project in Dowa District, saying that the youth aged between 10 and 24 are now able to freely access sexual reproductive health services at their respective health centres.
He also said the project has facilitated mindset change among the youth, saying they are now seeking contraceptive diagnostic and HIV testing.
Chakhaza Health Centre registers about 104 youth per month who seek SRH services.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA