Lack of Privacy Fueling ARV Default Rate Among Youth

The interface in progress The interface in progress

Adolescent girls and young women in Mzimba south have complained of a lack of privacy and confidentiality at health facilities which they say compromises their access to ARVs and sexual reproductive health services.

Speaking on Friday when they engaged Mzimba District Health Management Team(DHMT) Tionge Moyo, chairperson for the young women, said this increases the default rate among adolescent girls and young women.

"We face a lot of challenges when we want to access SRH services mainly because of lack of privacy in health facilities and lack of confidentiality among health workers who leak information on adolescent girls and young women when they have accessed ARVs or contraceptives," said Moyo.

Moyo said a lot of youth are discouraged from accessing such services because they are made to stand on same lines with adults and sometimes they find the facilities have run out of essential drugs.

"Such challenges lead to a lot of adolescent girls and young girls to default their ART medication while others succumb to unwanted pregnancies because they fail to access contraceptives for fear of being labeled promiscuous," said Moyo.

Tovwirane Organization AGYW program coordinator Cecelia Chivunga said with resources from Her Voice Fund they are implementing interventions to enable girls and young women access sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services with ease.

Chivunga said they were compelled to engage DHMT after noting that adolescents travel long distances to access SRH services, issues of drug stock out and poor attitude from some health workers

"As Tovwirane, we understand adolescent girls and young women sometimes travel long distances to access SRH services. Sometimes, they find health facilities are not stocked with necessary drugs or there is a lack of confidentiality among health workers so we provided a platform where they met the DHMT so that some of these challenges should be solved," explained Chivunga.

Director of health and social services at the Mmbelwa District Council Dr Prince Chirwa said they have introduced measures to ensure that adolescent girls and young women are being accorded privacy when accessing SRH services.

"We have now allowed that ART drugs should be administered on a daily basis and not on prescribed days as it was in the past and we have integrated our services so that there is no particular room for ART as it was in the past - all these are being done to ensure confidentiality in the provision of such services. On privacy, we also want to start using the old hospital premises to create space for our services," said Dr Chirwa.

On poor attitude of some health workers, Dr Chirwa said it is tricky but called on adolescent girls and young women to report any health worker abusing his or her position to the office of the Hospital Ombudsman which is available at almost all health facilities.

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Last modified on Sunday, 18/02/2024

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