LIVINGSTONE District Commissioner Eunice Nawa has called for concerted efforts in addressing challenges facing adolescents in the district.
Ms Nawa said Livingstone being the tourist capital, most adolescents were at risk of early pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.
She said issues of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) were cardinal in creating a healthy environment and achieving universal health coverage.
She said stakeholders needed to join hands in ensuring that young people lead a healthy lifestyle and contribute to national development.
Ms Nawa said this when Medicines Research and Access Platform (MedRAP) executive director Liyoka Livoka paid a courtesy call on her to introduce the Solutions for Supporting Healthy Adolescents and Rights Protection (SHARP) project.
She said the SHARP project was timely in addressing the challenges affecting adolescent girls in Livingstone and Southern Province.
Mr Liyoka said the project was aimed at empowering civil society organisations in Kazungula and Livingstone districts through capacity building and outreach programmes on Adolescents Sexual Reproductive Health.
He said currently in the country, about 62 per cent of adolescent girls failed to communicate with their parents about SRHR issues and called for enhanced policies to improve access to SRHR services and commodities, as well as strengthening the health systems to provide available, affordable, acceptable and quality services and commodities.
“Adolescence is not an easy time for children or parents. The only way to deal with needs and problems at this age is to know about them and be ready to face them,” Mr Liyoka said.
He said parent-adolescent conflicts that cause insecure and unstable feelings have a linear association with pubertal maturity.
He said in order to leave no one behind, MedRAP facilitated a systematic process of beneficiary identification, ensuring that every adolescent, regardless of gender, age, religion, ethnicity or other dimension of diversity is treated equitably and given fair and free opportunity to participate in project activities.
The SHARP project is a four-year programme, funded by the European Union (EU) dedicated to improving adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and addresses their unmet needs for family planning.