by Tarisai Jangara
Young women are too shy to approach health facilities for advice or treatment related to reproductive issues, according to SistaAct Zimbabwe.
Programmes Manager of the youth lobby group, Hazel Chitopo, said young women were embarrassed by the questions asked at hospitals and it was preventing them from accessing help.
“Health facilities are not accommodative when it comes to assisting adolescent women because there is general feeling that they are not sexually active. The problem is these young women are failing to negotiate safer sex. They lack comprehensive knowledge of reproductive health issues, including their own reproductive health rights,” Chitopo said.
She said providing young people with Sexual Reproductive Health information and services was key for them to make well informed choices.
According to the Zimbabwe National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy (2010-2015), young people lack comprehensive knowledge on reproductive issues.
“ Young women, mostly in low income areas like Kambuzuma, Budiriro, Epworth and Highfields, are engaging in backyard abortions which are not safe. These unsafe practices can be prevented if the young women have access to clinics and hospitals without feeling intimidated,” said Chitopo.
Health Minister Henry Madzorera recently said more women than men were contracting HIV because of their inability to negotiate safe sex. Of the 1,1 million estimated to be living with HIV and Aids, 60 percent are women. National Aids Council Statistics show that 207 765 females are on anti-retroviral treatment, almost double the number of men.