Overcoming Barriers: Teens Accessing Reproductive Health Care in Zambia
Being a teenager can be scary and confusing, especially when it comes to your sexual and reproductive health. Teenagers in Zambia feel like they can’t approach their families or health clinics for information and services, especially when it comes to pregnancy and HIV prevention. Inonge Wina-Chinyama, an advocate with Marie Stopes International (MSI) Zambia, talks to us about how MSI is integrating HIV, contraception/ pregnancy prevention, and other general services in order to reach teenagers seeking sexual and reproductive health services in Zambia.
It isn’t easy for teenagers in Zambia to access SRHR services due to stigma, fear, and bias from families, providers, and communities. While Zambia’s government does employ comprehensive sex education in schools, there is an existing gap between education and service delivery. The size and location of communities means that there are limited discrete, safe spaces where girls can go and receive services without running into people they know. Many girls also experience bias by providers, who sometimes tell girls that they shouldn’t be having sex before marriage rather than equipping them with the information and services they need.
MSI has developed ways to meet the sexual and reproductive health and rights needs of girls in Zambia. When girls visit reproductive health providers, they are met with “teen connectors,” or other young people that have honest conversations about sexual and reproductive health care that girls are seeking before they meet the provider for services. The Divine Divas program is a brightly decorated youth center for young girls who want to talk to others about contraception, condoms, HIV, menstruation, anatomy, and more. MSI is also working to link contraception with a girl’s futures, dreams, and aspirations.
Links from this episode
Marie Stopes International
Marie Stopes United States
Marie Stopes International on Twitter
Marie Stopes International on Facebook
Marie Stopes Zambia on Twitter
Marie Stopes International Information on Zambia
More Information on Divine Divas program in Zambia