Fiona Ruzha, H-Metro Reporter
SOUTHERN Africa HIV and Aids Information Dissemination Service social accountability specialist Percy Ngwerume says their interest is in preventing early unplanned pregnancy among young women and issues of sexual and gender based violence.
Recently, SAfAIDS launched an innovative mobile application through MobiSAfAIDS which seeks to empower adolescents and youths to engage in social accountability monitoring of sexual reproductive health services.
Speaking at the launch in rural Hwange District, Ngwerume said conversations to do with prevention of unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortion were of importance.
“We might not have statistics on unsafe abortion, it’s something that is a reality in our communities, it’s happening but we are not talking much about it so we want to say let’s have this conversation so that we can prevent unsafe abortion and unplanned pregnancies.
“This MobiSAfAIDS application will be of a great importance to the youths.
“It is available for download on Google play store and there is also a desktop version. Users have to register in order to access the application, once one registers they can interact with a health facility administrator who has been trained to deal with issues being raised via the mobile application. This is being supported under the Regional Transforming Lives Programme.
“The application will thus provide a safe and anonymous environment for young people to engage with health service providers,” he said.
The executive director for Buwalo-Matalikilo Trust Anna Mandizha said cases of unsafe abortion, school drop outs due to teen age pregnancies are a cause of concern in Ward 20 that they chose to work in.
“We are targeting the ages between 10 to 24 years because this is when a lot of abortions are taking place and this is when early sexual debut are happening.”
“Some parents in the community are complaining that we are concertising young children on sexual reproductive health issues but the truth of the matter on the ground is children as young as 10 years old are engaging in sexual activities and the constitution of the country allows them to access information on sexual reproductive health.
“Our mobile application MobiSAfAIDS will allow the young boys and girls to put across complains or compliments in a private way as compared to suggestion boxes,” said Ncube.
Hwange District Medical Officer Dr Wisdom Kurauone, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), welcomed the initiative.
“The community does not have access to a lot of things that urban young people are exposed to, we welcome the initiative and we hope to have more youth friendly facilities in Hwange District,” said Dr Kurauone.
The pilot initiative is also being done in Lesotho, Malawi, eSwatini, South Africa and Zambia.