Knowledge Gap Hinders SRH Delivery System

Grant Grant - pic by Eamon Piringu

Stakeholders that campaign for sexual reproductive health systems and girl child protection have cited lack of knowledge on Sexual Reproductive Health laws and policies among service providers as a challenge affecting accessibility of sexual reproductive health systems in the country.

A consortium of SAT Malawi, Forum for African Women Educationalists Malawi (FAWEMA) and Plan International that are implementing Break Free Project, through its country coordinator, Judith Pangani said this in the area of Senior Chief Chiwalo in Machinga during an interface meeting between service users and duty bearers.

Pangani has also observed that teachers in schools are not comfortable to deliver sexual reproductive health education; hence, calling for teacher trainings on the matter.

She said the challenge is derailing awareness campaigns on the policy among service providers.

She has called for duty bearers in the country to start sensitizing people on sexual reproductive health policy, gender based violence and teenage pregnancies.

"This is a big challenge in sexual reproductive health systems, people are not aware of what contents are in the policy that includes health workers and all other stakeholders that is why we call upon these duty bearers to take leading role," said Pangani.

"Our teachers are not comfortable enough to deliver sexual reproductive health education to learners so I think there should be special trainings for them," she added

District Education Manager for Machinga, Douglas Namikungulu says teachers have a limit on areas they teach in relation to the country's education syllabus but says they are thinking of engaging health authorities to assist in the areas beyond the syllabus.

"As school authorities we are limited on areas we teach because we follow the curriculum which prohibits us to teach in-depth knowledge of sexual related issues, Namikungulu admitted.

Member of Parliament for the area, Ajilu Kalitendere has promised to construct a youth friendly health facility using the constituency development fund, which local leaders have promised to follow up.

Among others, youth champion Esther Grant from the area of Senior Chief Chiwalo noted that only 30 percent of health workers in the area are aware of the sexual reproductive health policy.

The report further says laws that prohibit child marriages are not actively being implemented as child marriages continue to rise.

The youths have also gathered that faith leaders are not providing support to youths as they bar them from using contraceptive methods and unavailability of emergency pills in the district's health facilities since January.

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