Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) needs do not stop to exist because Covid-19 demands greater attention and resources, said the Society for Family Health (SFH) country director, Taimi Amaambo.
For the past two weeks SFH has been reaching out to the youth by providing mobile health services that focused on HIV testing, pregnancy testing, providing condoms, providing contraceptives, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEp), antiretroviral treatment and Covid-19 messages and screening. Amaambo said they recognise that adolescent girls and young women are vulnerable to increased violence during the lockdown, hence the team provides additional service of screening for gender-based violence (GBV) and is prepared to offer the relevant professional referrals.
Last week, SFH in collaboration with United Nations Population fund (UNFP) visited the informal settlement of Havana with the intention to provide SRH services.
“As you can see, this is the settlement that needs services. You can see people lining up here. They appreciate it (our services). Instead of going to the nearest health clinics where there is rationing of services and were a health provider might probably want to attend to emergencies and if a girl comes in for example, (looking for) family planning, she may not be seen as urgent. That is why we thought of bringing services to people might work,” stated Amaambo.
She said over 200 individuals received one-on-one message and services at their mobile site.
Their mobile van has been visiting places such as shopping malls and neighbourhoods where the public could conveniently access their services.
“While the requirement for social distancing and stay at home restrictions are needed to combat the spread of Covid-19, there is a potential for sexual violence and unwanted pregnancy for girls including unintended consequences of trapping people in violent environments and abusive relationships,” noted Amaambo.
Similarly, UNFPA country representative Dennia Gayle stated the need for reproductive health does not go away particularly because of the lockdown. Gayle said it is imperative that SRH centre is placed near other essential health services that need to remain available to the population.
Gayle stated failure to do so increase the risk in cases of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal mortality.
“If we want to live the principle of not leaving anyone behind, sometimes we need to go where the needs are the greatest, said Gayle while requesting SFH health provider to inform UNFPA what the community needs are so that they can better shape their program and meet the people’s needs.
Sister Fungai Bhera from SFH shared the need for services on sexual reproductive health in Havana informal settlement was very high during their visit. “We are not shouting that we are here but people are coming for the services,” said Bhera.
In addition, Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) is open and it also provides SRH services during the current lockdown. Their clinics are situated in Keetmanshoop, Walvis Bay, Outapi, Rundu, Eehanana, Katima Mulilo and Windhoek.
NAPPA communication officer Louise Stephanus told New Era they have observed an influx of young people visiting their clinics during the lockdown because they have ample time. Stephanus stated their clinics are hosted at youth centres and the youth do not come directly to the clinics.
“The youth first visit centre for internet then they make their way to the clinics where they access various services,” she further stated.
2020-05-12 09:51:21 | 19 days ago