Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services!

As a young person, why do I need to go to government clinics or hospitals when I fear that I will get shouted at or judged?

…because you have a right to get health services, allowed to access these services and never be turned back.

In the past, a lot of young people were afraid to go to our government clinics because they complained about bad services and that they were constantly judged for their health queries. This stopped them from going to seek healthcare services, thus leaving themselves at risk of being sick, infected or havingtheir conditions worsen.

In order to respond to the needs of young people, the Department of Health came up with the solution that would help with this problem…to train their staff and companies working with young people to know how to provide services to young people in a way that would make them feel less judged and more welcome at the health facilities. These are called Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services (AYFS), meant for all young people to understand their right to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. There is a list of standards that the health facilities must reach, in order to be called youth friendly.

What do youth friendly services include?

  • Education on family planning, STIs including HIV
  • Prevention of unplanned pregnancies, provision of contraceptives including condoms
  • HIV testing services
  • Screening for STIs and treatment of these STIs
  • Prevention of HIV for HIV negative clients, PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – this is pilltaken once a day to prevent HIV infection)
  • Treatment of HIV positive clients, provision of ARVs (Antiretrovirals pills) and support
  • Screening for GBV (Gender Based Violence) and referrals thereof
  • Treatment for clients who have been exposed to the risk of acquiring HIV (PEP – Post-exposure Prophylaxes). For example, a person who has gone through rape or experienced a condom burst.
  • Other general health checks, conditions and health concerns and needs
  • Information on SRHR and other illnesses

AYFS clinics and hospitals usually try to adjust their facility times to suit young people and to also have specific areas in the facility to attend to young people where they are most comfortable.

Just keep in mind that not all health facilities have reached the required level of to qualify as youth friendly services but are a work in progress. Don’t ever let one bad service take away your right to receive health services.

You, Choma, have a RIGHT to good healthcare at our public health facilities…make use of it!

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me on Facebook Message,  Instagram message Twitter DM, or WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)