Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Call for a joint concerted efforts needed for youngsters
The Acting Director of Youth Education through Sports Tanzania (YES Tanzania), Kenneth Luvanda has advised governments in sub Saharan Africa to provide adolescents and the youth with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and outreach. He attributed lack of the services to the increased number of unwanted pregnancies among adolescents not only in the region, but in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. “We need civil societies and international organizations to ensure adolescents and young people access to SRHR right information, commodities and services,” he said. YES Tanzania’s survey has revealed that sustainability of the campaign is possible only when the target groups take ownership and control over Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). He said through continuous support, coordination and conducting regular needs assessments, his organisation would tailor its support and training of the target groups. He said his organization was committed to realization of sustainable development through enticing the target groups into acknowledgment of their rights towards job creation, environmental protection, peace and security, justice and freedom. YES Tanzania is a youth oriented nongovernmental organization focused on the provision of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services which include contraceptives, safe abortion and post-abortion care counseling and treatment for all young people. It also seeks to impart young people with skills as an instrument to participate in decision making, take responsible and formal roles in the society through nurturing their confidence and experience. “Young people have much to offer given the opportunity to get involved in governance,” Luvanda said. The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) says SRHR plays a major role in the lives of young people by enabling them to decide freely and responsibly of all aspects of their sexuality. It says SRHR is also important to socio-economic development of communities, societies and nations at large. It is estimated that adolescents and young people in sub-Saharan Africa constitute 19.6 per cent of the population. Addressing young people’s SRHR in Africa is also vital, given the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS, the high rates of unintended pregnancies that may lead to unsafe abortions, given restrictive laws and inaccessibility of safe services. However, SRHR still remains non-priority issue on the development agenda of many sub-Saharan Africa countries due to limited political leadership and commitment to realization of SRHR and inadequate resource allocation. The language of rights in SRH is still controversial in African countries which continue to undermine SRHR policy and programmes.