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MyAge wants sexual health services for younger children

 

MyAge Zimbabwe says sexual and reproductive health services mus be accessible to younger people

Charity Zvada

MASVINGO – Some adolescents
in Masvingo have called upon parents to encourage their children to access
Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services as means to reduce the number of
unwanted teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among
other things.

The current laws
of Zimbabwe set the age of consent at 16, meaning those that are below that age
cannot access SRH services.

Speaking during
a Girls Choose training workshop organised by MyAge Zimbabwe at Charles Austin
Theatre recently, the young people said according children the right to sexual reproductive
information and contraception was the way to go.

The gathering
was meant to train youths in business about SRH and disseminate information to
their peers within their social cycles and places of work.

The youths said society
was paying the price for depriving children the right to SRH Services.

“If a parent
discovers that I am taking contraceptive, she disowns me and at the end, I could
get pregnant and the effects are felt by everybody,” said a participant.

Others said
parents should embrace change by allowing children to open up about adolescence
and the challenges that come with it.

“They should
allow us to open up to them so that they help us get SRH services in time. Many
of us end up travelling long distances to get the services and the risk is that
some of us do not bother as they do not want to be seen anywhere close to a New
Start Centre,” said another

A representative
from Population Services International (PSI) Mike Chipepera said restricting children
from accessing SRH was no longer logical.

“Parents
should know that restricting children is no longer the solution. They should rather
be seen playing a parental role of helping their children get the services needed,”
said Chipepera.

Others suggested
that organisations like My Age should start sensitising the idea into young
people in order to create better future parenthood.

“The best way is
to start working on it now so that young people of today can become better
parents tomorrow,” a participant said.

MyAge Zimbabwe
has trained around 90 youths who are referred to as champions who educate peers
in SRH-related issues and refer them to service providers in a non-intrusive
way.

At the recent
workshop, two champions won prices for referring a bigger number of people.

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