An international health promotion organization working in Neno district, Partners in Health, has graduated four hundred and ten adolescents in Gender, HIV and AIDS and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) in a bid to be agents of change as they grow.
P.I.H Adolescents and Women Health Program Specialist Jimmy Harare told Zodiak Online on Wednesday that a lot of youths are lacking skills on how to protect themselves from harmful practices hence introducing the initiative in all Neno district health centres.
"We noted a sharp rise in cases of child marriages, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among the adolescents and this was being attributed to knowledge gap on available prevention measures," said Jimmy.
Harare further said P.I.H with funding from Global Affairs of Canada (GAC) introduced the SkillsBLA ( Bwala Lachinyamata) which is to run for five years in all health centers of Neno district where coaches will be trained to lecture adolescents on how their bodies respond to the environment as they grow.
"The coaches are there to take the adolescents who are between the age bracket of ten to fourteen, through a curriculum of gender, HIV and AIDS and Reproductive health for four months, this curriculum is designed to help the Adolescents have knowledge of their bodies," he said.
One of the adolescent Phonex Chakwamba said the training has helped him gain self-esteem withing the four months he has been with his fellow adolescents.
"Am now able to know how to respond to harmful practices which my fellow adolescents would want to drag me into, we are using both verbal and nonverbal rejection methods, they are working", he said.
Neno District Youth Officer Hope Mwafulirwa who graced the graduation ceremony urged the adolescents to take the skills learnt into practice saying school closure due to Covid-19 may result in temptations to the youths to start indulging in premarital sexual affairs.
Partners in Heath (PIH) through its POSER program has constructed four houses each at four million two hundred thousand Malawi Kwacha for the elderly in Neno district.
In drive to make lives of poor communities bearable in Neno district, an International Non-Governmental Organization, Partners in Health, has promised to continue with its humanitarian support to the district in terms of health, education and infrastructure development.