• Blandina Malinzi

A Call For Youth Health Services

"Why Adolescents need to grow and develop good health."

There is a common a say that refers to one’s body as one’s temple; this includes adolescents to whom good health and proper health services is essential. About one-third of the health clinics in Tanzania now have youth-friendly health services, where they offer HIV testing, contraceptives and treatments for STD’s.

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

But in reality, there are still more adolescents that don’t visit such health clinics due to some coming from underprivileged backgrounds thus have no access to medical care and are at a high risk of having health problems including those related to sexual and reproductive health. And some adolescents don’t feel the need in going to health facilities.

Low level of sexual reproductive health and health care information among Tanzanian adolescents puts this group at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, also considering the fact that a large number of adolescents are sexually active.

According to one study, only 6.3% have visited a reproductive health center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Although adolescents, who fall ill due to common conditions such as malaria, fever, respiratory infections have no hesitation in seeking care.

Cultural reasons also play an important role as some adolescents are scared that they will end up in trouble with their parents and communities and embarrass them if they report to a health facility. They fear shame and judgment this makes them in wanting to deal with their sensitive health issues in secrecy, however adolescents need to realize that keeping their health a secret is not good for them or their health as it can pose grave danger to their health.

Former principal social worker who has worked with children and adolescences for over thirty years; Dr. Margret Mkandawire says, “ Teaching young people about sexual and reproductive health is important for their life and health. I am concerned for the young people as they are many opportunities to reach out to adolescents with sexual and reproductive health information and services that they need, are being missed,” she says.

Students at Lyandembela Secondaru School receiving education on sexual reproductive health (Photo courtesy of Tai Studio).

“More effort needs to be directed towards improving adolescence health and services,” she adds.

Therefore, Government, communities, schools, should provide health care services and pay more attention to adolescents’ health and well-being. By also understanding the transition period of adolescence is essential. Adolescence need to live in a world where there is no judgment environment. This will then enable them to have healthy practices and training.

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