Since the sudden spread of covid 19, many public services have been interrupted including critical services such as these related to Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH). What was initially meant to be a 21-day lockdown turned to be prolonged. There was confusion as to which services are essential and which ones are not, young people were turned away and told that clinics are attending to Covid 19 related matters.
Many Generation Change Makers (Youth) in the district we are implementing in have faced issues of not being able to access the contraceptives, and contraceptives of their own choice, instead they are sometimes coerced to using contraceptives that they did not initially come to the clinic for, they are not even been given the effects of the contraceptives they are coerced to using. Young people end up not getting the contraceptive methods they need, and they are sexually active, that is a fact that we cannot change. When they are not getting access to the contraceptives of their choice, they have sex which leads them to have an unwanted pregnancy.
They then cannot deal with the pregnancy as it was not planned for but because they were denied access from preventing it from the clinic, they are never going to return to the clinic to request access to termination of pregnancy, they then go for backroom abortions which is the easiest solution for them because no one is going to ask them to bring their parents to the clinic to consent for their termination of pregnancy which is what young people cannot confide to their parents that they are opting for termination of pregnancy.
SRH is very vital in our districts especially in the rural areas, information needs to be distributed to young people so that they know the services they can access at their local clinics. When young people cannot access the services, it increases the risk of HIV in our communities, and by that, it means the 90-90-90 targets of people living with HIV knowing their status, people living with HIV Infection sustained Antiretroviral Therapy, and 90% of people living with HIV receiving Antiretroviral have their Viral load suppressed, we will never reach those targets.
In our implementation of the Advocacy Program, we have discovered that for young people not being able to access contraceptives leads them to put their lives at risk and we are aware that receiving contraceptives can reduce a lot of issues for young people regarding their health. It is compromising the Generation Change Makers (Youth) to not have access to services that they need, to avoid all the consequences that transpire after young people do not get services.
#Dontletstigmawin #HumanRighst4All #GenerationChangeMakers #ChekaImpilo #AGYW #ABYM #PowerToTheYouth
Written by Berlina Lerutoane,
Advocacy & Lobbying Coordinator