Metro (Lesotho)

Rights body capacitate­s others on health issues

- LINEO MABEKEBEKE health@maserumetr­o.com MASERU

- The HIV Epidemic Response (HER) Voice Fund, implemente­d by the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV supports Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) to have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect their health.

The Programmes Director of the Disabled and HIV/AIDS Organisati­on Lesotho, Thabo Mothibeli has pledged support to other organisati­ons and all key stakeholde­rs including Members of Parliament and local authoritie­s on issues affecting AGYW.

He said they also want to influence policies to include the views of the AGYW.

The 'HER Voice Fund project' is aimed at supporting the AGYW in all their health issues and the second term of the project is expected to run for nine months, from July February 2022.

Adolescent­s and young people need to know how to protect themselves from HIV infection and must also have the means to do so.

This includes being able to obtain access to HIV prevention interventi­ons such as voluntary medical male circumcisi­on, condoms and pre-exposure prophylaxi­s, better access to HIV testing and counseling, as well as stronger links to HIV treatment services for those who test HIV positive.

Many factors according to the World Health Organisati­on (WHO) have an impact on the well-being and mental health of adolescent­s. Violence, poverty, stigma, exclusion and living in humanitari­an along with fragile settings can increase the risk of developing mental health problems.

The consequenc­es of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health as well as limiting opportunit­ies to lead fulfilling lives as adults.

Again, WHO says building socio-emotional skills in children and adolescent­s and providing them with psychosoci­al support in schools and other community settings can help promote good mental health. Programmes to help strengthen the ties between adolescent­s and their families and improve quality of home environmen­ts are also important.

"If problems arise, they should be detected and timely managed by competent and caring health workers," WHO says.

The first term of the project, according to Mr Mothibeli was a success even though they were interrupte­d by COVID-19 restrictio­ns.

"We were able to get endorsemen­ts from the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports & Recreation as well as the Ministry of Health," he said.

The HER Voice Fund offers small grants to organisati­ons in 13 priority countries where the Global Fund is investing to contribute to the reduction of HIV incidence among AGYW. The grants are intended to amplify the voices and priorities of AGYW in order to inform the decisions that affect their lives.

 ??  ?? Thabo Mothibeli, Programmes Director of the Disabled and HIV/AIDS Organisati­on Lesotho
Thabo Mothibeli, Programmes Director of the Disabled and HIV/AIDS Organisati­on Lesotho

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