Acting UNESCO Country Representative, Abdul Wahab Coulibaly speaks to invited dignitaries during the official launching of the “Young People Today. Time to Act Now” report which highlighted Reproductive Health Services (RHS) to young people in Africa for social well being of the African society
across the continent.
By Staff Writer
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) calls for strengthened sexuality education and sexual reproductive health services for young people in Eastern and Southern Africa and Tanzania in general.
Speaking at the launch to invited dignitaries from all UN agencies, government officials and reporters, UNESCO’s Regional Aids Advisor, Dr Patricia Machawira said the poor status of sexuality education and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) is evidenced by the high rates of teenage pregnancies in the region.
“For instance, by age 17, at least 20 percent of young women in six of the 21countries in the region have started childbearing, early childbearing often contributes to school dropout and may lead to maternal mortality,’ Dr Machawira
A UNESCO report was disseminated recent urging ministers from Eastern and Southern Africa to respond to continuing high levels of HIV infection, unintended pregnancy and low HIV prevention knowledge impacting on the region’s 158m adolescents and young people.
Assistant Director from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training(Diversity Unity) Dr. Laetitia Sayi speaks to invited guests and reporters on behalf of the government on the importance of sexual and reproductive health education to young people in Tanzania and Africa at large.
The 21-country report, “Young People Today. Time for Action NOW” BY UNESCO, UNAIDS, UNFPA, WHO and other bi-lateral partners demonstrates that adolescents and young people especially young women –face a wide range of challenges that compromises their life chances.
Currently, every hour, an estimated 50 young people, again mostly women, become infected with HIV. This makes Eastern and Southern Africa the world’s most affected region.
The report said with 430,000 new infections annually among young people aged 15-24 and an estimated 2.6 million other young people living with HIV in the region.
The report presents findings from 21 countries in the ESA region, covering the health and the social status of adolescents and young people, access to education, HIV knowledge, HIV and unintended pregnancy prevalence and key gender and human rights indicators.
Other key findings in the report include, less than 40 percent of young people know basis information about HIV; key health services are often withheld from adolescents and young people due to their age, marital and legal status and sexual or gender based violence is a reality for up to 35 percent of young women.
The report added that getting education and health ministers to commit to good quality comprehensive sexuality education and access to sexual and reproductive health services is one of the most effective solutions to address the issues affecting young people, whose numbers are expected to increase to 281m by 2050.
As Professor Sheila Tlou, Director of UNAIDS Regional Support, states “it is time for urgent action by our governments, young people and civil society to re-affirm the re-affirm the rights of young people to a better future.
Acting UNESCO Country Representative, Abdul Wahab Coulibaly display a New Report on adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Representative from Pan-African Youth Leaders Network for the UN Jacqueline Maeda gives an overview of the African Focal Point of Youth Ambassadors on HIV/ AIDS issues.
Udak Bassey-Duke, Youth Sexual Reproductive Healthy and Development Expert from UNFPA, she highlighted that the report recommendations and information focuses on Youth Services in Reproductive Healthy which is their focus.
She added that UNFPA also focuses on Youth who are not in Schools and Unemployed where by the programs empowered them to know the Pros and Cons of sexual education.
Some of the participants following up the launching ceremony held at UNESCO headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
Mussa Kalinga from Azania Secondary School contributing a point during the launching of the report in which he said that still teachers in most schools in Tanzania are not widely open about HIV/Aids pandemic and sexual reproductive healthy.
Session going on.
UN staff and Youth with the guest of honour pose for a group photo.