Inadequate providers crippling youth health services in Karonga
Inadequate trained personnel has been singled out as a major challenge to incorporating Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS) which are at low levels in most health facilities across Karonga.
Karonga District YFHS Coordinator Davis Chilawani disclosed this in an interview following interface meetings that the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) conducted in the areas of Ngana, Chikutu, and Mwenelondo, on YFHS, Gender-Based Violence issues, and Human Rights in relation to Cultural Practices.
Chilawani, said despite there being a number of youths that are willing to go and access the services however a lack of trained personnel remains an obstacle in reaching out to all youths across most health facilities.
“As a district so far we have about 40 trained providers of YFHS of which most are based at the district hospital hence we need more trained personnel because as a district we have about 21 health facilities so for a facility to provide the services they should have at least two providers who are trained on YFHS,” he said.
Adding that inadequacy of the trained providers has also affected quality service delivery to the youths across the health facilities as a result most young people, especially in the rural areas, shun away from services such as HIV testing and counseling.
On his part, Ngana Youth Club Publicist David Mwaisondola, Commended EAM for organizing the interface saying the knowledge that the youths have gained will help them make informed decisions as previously they were not aware of YFHS.
EAM Project Coordinator Dumisani Nungu, said adolescents are uniquely impacted by gender-based violence due to their age and inexperience in relationships which can heighten their risk of physical and sexual intimate partner violence hence the interface with community members.
“Being a victim of GBV during adolescent can lead to long-lasting negative and mental and physical health outcomes so that is why we had to engage the communities to orient and sensitize them on the availability of YFHS linking them to GBV, Human Rights, and harmful cultural practices because what we want to see is to have a healthy youth,” Nungu explained.
With financial assistance from Norwegian church Aid and Dan Church Aid EAM has implemented a four-year project in the district named Timazge Nkhaza (End Violence).