Youths in Karonga have bemoaned lack of standalone facilities and shortage of trained personnel for youth-friendly services in the district’s public hospitals.
Speaking on Friday during a meeting with the district’s health management team, youth representative Davie Kitalo said the situation led to the rising cases of teenage pregnancies.
He raised a concern of the use of security guards and data entry clerks to welcome the youth at Lupembe and Wiliro health centres.
Said Kitalo: “At Karonga District Hospital, the space for youth-friendly services is shared by people on anti-retroviral therapy.
“This situation compromises privacy.”
In response, Karonga District director of health and social services David Sibale said the concerns were genuine.
He said: “However, the K800 000 we get from the council for the youth-friendly programme is not sufficient to construct standalone structures.
“Most health centres were built long time ago before the introduction of youth-friendly services.”
Sibale also said they will lobby partners to train more service providers on youth-friendly services.
On his part, Karonga district youth officer Lapken Liwago assured the youth that the Department of Youth will use existing guidelines and policies to implement youth-friendly services in the district to address the challenges.
Kachila Youth Initiative executive director Matchona Ngwira, whose organisation facilitated the meeting, expressed satisfaction with the discussions.
“We want the youth to access friendly services in public hospitals,” he said.
The meeting, held with Karonga District Health Management Team, was supported by SRHR Africa Trust.