Rights body capacitates others on health issues
- 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.