The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences are negatively affecting the availability of and access to basic services, including Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Care, and is further exacerbating existing inequalities.
It has been our aim under our Girls Choose project to facilitate access to SRHR information and services even during these tough and uncertain times.
As the impact of the pandemic continues to worsen, governments and health system’s practitioners are taking unprecedented action to contain the spread of the disease, restricting movements and redirecting resources.
The ministry of Health Child Care reported 2021 new cases as of 27 January 2021, 1122 Deaths, and 23687 recoveries 23687, and for a country with a health system that is not so strong, these numbers are scary.
This development has been impeding delivery of information, services and programming around Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and preventing or responding to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
The impact of COVID-19 has increased SRHR-related needs for communities during the unending lockdown and resulted in a rise in SGBV, unmet need for contraception, compromised SRH services and limited access to CSE.
This has consequently resulted in an increase of unsafe sexual activities which result in the spread of STIs and HIV/AIDS .To facilitate access to HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC) during this lockdown period, we were providing young people with HIV self-test kits and treatment services in their respective communities.
The HIV self-test selfie challenge aimed at facilitating access to HTC services to young people aiming at more young knowing their status. According to the WHO the 90/90/90 strategy to combat the HIV/AIDS there is need to ensure that young people know their status and take care of their SRH.
Many thanks to Population Services International (PSI) for supporting this programming by providing the self-test kits.
Through our SRHR Champions, we managed to distribute 300 self-test kits. According to WHO the HIV prevalence of young people between the ages of 15-24 is 5.4 million globally with 58.5% being female and 41.5% being male.
The project also seeks to empower young women to take charge of their health and their bodies. In order to achieve this, one female client was recorded as 2 to encourage champions to approach girls and young women more.
Prizes were being given to champions who managed to mobilize more young people than others.
Tadiwa Maregere, (19), Tatenda Muguti (21 and Andrew Marasha (23) took the first, second and third prizes respectively.
They managed to mobilize young people from the community, church, sex workers, the LGBTIQ and tertiary institutions .They won smart phones and gadgets hampers.