GWERU – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Zimbabwe country representative, Cheikh Tidiane last week praised Midlands State University (MSU) for leading the fight against sexually transmitted infections.
Speaking during the launch of a state-of -the-art model health resource centre at the MSU Gweru campus, Tidiane praised the university for placing great importance on the sexual health of young people.
“Let me commend the leadership of this university for placing such great importance on equipping young people with the necessary life skills and information related to their sexual reproductive health and rights by opening this resource centre. UNFPA is extremely proud to be part of this because it strongly resonates with our mandate,” Tidiane said.
The health facility, which boasts pool tables, computers, HIV and Aids literature, a boardroom and counselling room, is the brainchild of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Students and Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT).
Tidiane also indicated many young people were exposed to the danger of STIs due to inadequate access to sexual and reproductive health information.
“Many young people in Zimbabwe continue to suffer from such problems as unwanted pregnancies, HIV and Aids, unsafe abortions and STIs due to, among many other reasons, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and services thus limiting their full potential,” Tidiane said.
Students also celebrated the efforts of the university in the fight against STI’s, and recommend that the model be replicated in other institutions with urgency to protect the country’s demographic dividend.
“As students, we are celebrating a library on sexual reproductive health and recreation centre in the same breadth. We thank MSU, Saywhat and UNFPA. It reminds us that rights come with responsibility. We are looking forward to the extension of this service to other tertiary institutions,” said Hastings Tengende, a student and peer educator at the university.
Youths constitute over 60 percent of the country’s 13 million population. The 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey states that one in 10 adolescent girls give birth each year while HIV prevalence stands at 6,7 percent in the same group.local