Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in Malawi bear a disproportionate burden of HIV compared to their male peers—HIV prevalence is 2.3 times higher among young women aged 15– 24 compared to young men of the same age (Malawi PHIA 2018). AGYW in rural areas and with less education experience an even greater burden.
Malawi sees high rates of pregnancy among adolescents and young women, which contribute to school dropouts among the country’s Girls and young women. In addition, unintended pregnancies among adolescent girls have a lot of consequences and leads to unsafe abortions, dangerous childbirths and even death, it also contributes to high population. In Malawi, the vast majority of AGYW have left school by the age of 15 years. Reaching out-of-school AGYW with effective programs and services is key for HIV prevention efforts.
FOCOLD has been addressing issues around access to SRHR services including HIV services by responding to the following issues targeting the adolescent girls and young women
Adolescent and young women face exclusion and unmet need for FP, HIV and SRH services that are friendly, accessible and available. Health facilities, particularly in rural and hard to reach areas are understaffed. And there is a common denial in some circles that premarital sex among adolescent occurs. And also, the health surveillance assistants are not used to the maximum yet they are a resource closer to the Adolescent and the young women in the communities.
Distances to the nearest healthcare provider where the adolescents and young women are supposed to get the contraceptives and other SRHR services, great and costs of seeking health information or care are often prohibitively high. Embarrassment, a perceived lack of privacy and an unwelcoming attitude on the part of health facility staff prevent adolescents from seeking the information or care that they need to meet access to contraceptives and other SRH needs
Improve the accessibility to contraceptives and increase the knowledge of the girls and young women on the use of contraceptives in rural areas, reduce the distance to the health clinics by ensuring that District Health office empower the Health surveillance assistance in the community through lobbying and dialogue with the District Health office.
FOCOLD works with Health service providers in Health centers and communities in the 3 districts namely Blantyre, Mwanza and Neno, where the organization has contributed to a number of changes as far access to SRHR services is concern.
FOCOLD promote access to Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS services among the Adolescent, Youth, Teen mothers, female sex workers including people living with HIV, Under the program FOCOLD provided Trainings For peer educators/Change agents, provide HIV test, distribute condoms, promote access to contraceptives, promote referral to hospital, promote access and adherence to ART treatment and capacity building on improving the livelihoods of people living with HIV and teen mothers. FOCOLD advocate for youth friendly health services for adolescent and access to SRHR services and other health support to sex workers.