As a means of improving young people’s access to healthcare, Malawi’s youth have called on the government to establish youth zones at hospitals around the country.
During the concluding ceremony of a three-day National Youth Symposium held by the Malawi Evangelical Association (EAM) at Mponela, the young people outlined their requests in a statement.
As stated, some of the issues faced by youth include the absence of youth friendly healthcare services in hospitals, the great distances to hospitals, and the shortage of medically staff that are specialised in reproductive and sexual health.
Among the 10 hospitals in Ntchisi, only two offer services that are specifically tailored to the needs of young people. This is a common problem in many other hospitals across South Africa.
Hospitals should provide departments where young people can get reproductive health and sexual health services, the youth said. “We want the government to give an allocation for the development of youth corners within the healthcare facilities along with the K6 billion that are allotted for the construction of health facilities,” the youth stated.
Another issue raised by young people is the scarcity of contraceptives, which they say has led to an increase in the number of young women becoming pregnant, particularly after the Covid-19 outbreak.
Also brought up were difficulties that young people with impairments had in getting medical care at various facilities around the country. A reduction in adolescent pregnancies and school dropouts would help Vision 2063 come to fruition if the government made more investments in youth-friendly health care.
After the summit’s formal conclusion, the health minister, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda stated that the government is committed to delivering family planning products and services that are geared toward young people in health institutions all around the country.
For the first time, Kandodo stated, “the budget for family planning services has increased by nearly 170 percent.” He added that the present allocation for such services is K470 million.
She said that her ministry is pleased that churches are teaching young people about reproductive and sexual health, as well as skills like tailoring, in order to help them become more employable.
The N’zatonse Project is being implemented by churches affiliated with EAM, which guides youngsters with awareness on sexual and reproductive health.