Girls should not be denied contraceptives: Haufiku
WINDHOEK, 01 FEB (NAMPA) – Public health facilities should not deny young women contraceptives as they are entitled to it, Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku has said.
He made the remark during the opening of the three-day Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Consultation on HIV Prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Adolescent Girls and Young Women in the capital on Wednesday.
“I was very disappointed to hear a 12-year-old girl was denied family planning at a health facility. We are wasting time with culture and traditional norms as we cannot control our girls wherever they go,” he said.
Haufiku said there is a need to educate young women about their rights with regard to reproductive and sexual health.
He called on civil society organisations and community organisations to assist the Namibian Government in educating young women about HIV prevention measures and the availability of free antiretroviral (ARV) drugs at health facilities countrywide.
Haufiku commended community organisations that distribute condoms as this helps to prevent infections.
The minister noted that about 34 per cent of young women under the age of 24 have experienced sexual violence in Namibia. Most new infections are recorded amongst young women aged between 15 and 24.
According to the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ latest statistics about 133 000 people in Namibia are on ARV treatment, of which 85 000 are women.
The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Services in partnership with the World Health Organisation, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
It aims to elaborate approaches and strategies for how best to reach adolescent girls and young women with HIV prevention in the context of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
More than 100 delegates from 12 eastern and southern African countries, as well as development agencies are attending the meeting. These include technical experts, advocates,
major donors, government officials and representatives of civil society organisations.