The Ministry of Health has launched three (3) Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) Youth Friendly Spaces at Chawama level one (1) hospital, Chelston Health Centre and Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka district.
The Youth Friendly Spaces are aimed at offering one stop shops where adolescents in the community could access comprehensive health services among them family planning methods, HIV testing, counselling, treatment and condom use.
This is an initiative developed by CIDRZ with support from M.A.C AIDS Fund.
Speaking at the launch, in a speech read on his behalf by Lusaka Provincial Health Director Dr. Consity Mwale, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary – Technical Services, Dr Kennedy Malama said “the spaces will provide an opportunity to addressing challenges that have impeded adolescents from accessing health services. These will enhance easy access to health facilities with minimal physical barriers, access to health services that are convenient, appropriate, comprehensive and integrated, providing for continuity of care; assured privacy and confidentiality of services”.
Dr. Malama said “the focus of the Ministry of Health is to provide continuum of care with emphasis placed on strengthening health systems and services using the primary health care approach. This is well outlined in the National Health Strategic Plan 2017 to 2021 which envisions ‘a nation of healthy and productive people’ while the mission is ‘to provide equitable access to cost effective, quality health services as close to the family possible’. The strategic plan emphasizes health promotions, disease prevention, curative, rehabilitative and palliative services”.
“It is in this view, that government has intensified efforts in ensuring that no one is left behind as far as access to quality health care services is concerned including young people towards attaining universal health coverage vision 2030. It is therefore gratifying to note that the youth friendly spaces we are launching today are in line with the government’s transformation agenda” he said.
And CIDRZ Chief Executive Officer Dr. Izukanji Sikazwe thanked the Zambian Government through the Ministry of Health, for the unwavering support to the organisation and the favourable environment, for CIDRZ to continue contributing significantly to the health sector. She further thanked M.A.C AIDS Fund for the continued support to CIDRZ, as they contributed largely to the success of the organization in achieving their strategic goal of providing Zambian citizens access to quality health services.
“You may wish to know that through the CIDRZ MAC project, we have reached out to 129,506 adolescents with comprehensive adolescent health services, in Lusaka and Chongwe districts of Lusaka Province, and most recently in Senanga and Kaoma districts of Western Province since August 2015. Adolescents in the CIDRZ supported sites have been able to access teen-to-teen sexual and reproductive health services through Youth-Friendly Rooms (YFRs) run by trained adolescent Peer Educators in government health facilities in 16 communities across Lusaka and Western provinces” she said
Dr. Sikazwe further said “these adolescent services have been built on the foundation of the support from United States government through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I would also like to pay special gratitude to PEPFAR/CDC for support to the national HIV program”.