MASERU- Children’s HIV care organisation, Sentebale on Friday launched a ‘Youth Must Lead’ programme to empower young people who are affected and infected by HIV and have their voices heard by decision makers. However, most of the youths say some health facilities are not friendly to their needs.
Giving the challenges that they meet that hinder themin accessing good health services, one of the youths, Thato Posholi, said besides government’s call for access to good health for every citizen of this country, they always come across the opposite.
Posholi said most adolescents faced a lot of hurdles whenever they want to access Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services that are said-to-be youth friendly. She said they getting conflicting information and ideas due to the fact that they are unable to get hold of correct and reliable information from the experts.
Posholi said the traditional beliefs are very strong so much that they exert a lot of influence as well as pressure on people in the society which youth are not immune to them and that a lot of myths and misconceptions on the issues pertaining to SRH are embroidered within the customs of our diverse societies.
She pointed that that they have also noticed that the attitude of some health workers is also a prohibiting factor in its own light, saying the approach that our health workers use, leaves a lot to be desired and that in order to ensure that the youth are getting the necessary SRH services, there is need to adopt an approach that considers all dilemmas that young people are always in.
‘’Youth are always confused and shy when it comes to issues concerning sex and sexuality, they are permanently put off when they detect any annoying or unwelcome gesture that the medical personnel may show the youth are always sensitive,” she added.
Adding on that another youth, Rethabile Mokhoabane said the other challenge youth face in health facility is that health centers are not close to the areas where the youth live and the nearest they can get are Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) facilities which normally do not offer SRH services. From there, she said, others are privately-owned clinics which demand payment upfront which most youths do not have.
The youths also complained about being dined access to health services to disabled people as well as the unavailability of information to people who cannot hear or see.
Launching the programme, Patron and Founder of Sentebale, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, said this is good opportunity for youth to stand up and have their voices heard by those in authority so that they can get better services.
He said youth are the present blocks that the country can build its future on. Prince Seeiso also urged the youths to use the small they have to achieve big things in life, “just like the founder of Basotho nation King Moshoeshoe I, who survived to build this nation from nothing”.