Malawi Launches Program Aimed at Preventing HIV, Improving Sexual Health Among Young People
Malawi's Ministry of Youth Development and Sports last week launched a National Plan of Action for Young People aimed at preventing the spread of HIV, as well as improving sexual and reproductive health, among young people ages 10 to 24, Malawi's Daily Times reports.
Simon Vuwa Kaunda, youth development and sports minister, during the program's launch in Lilongwe, Malawi, said the country will not achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015 if it does not follow the new program. Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe at the launch said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning will ensure that funds are available to implement the program.
The program has six strategic objectives:
- Improving HIV programs, as well as sexual and reproductive health programs, for young people;
- Teaching young people how to adopt safer-sex practices;
- Increasing youths' utilization of health services;
- Increasing access to integrated sexual and reproductive health, and livelihood skills programs;
- Strengthening coordination between HIV prevention programs and sexual health programs; and
- Strengthening capacity to sustain evidence-based prevention programs.
Kaunda said the country's biggest problem in fighting HIV has been a lack of coordination among different groups that aim to prevent and treat the disease. "Each one of us now is working as an island," Kaunda said, adding, "If this goes on, we'll not achieve what we want, and young people will continue suffering while millions of dollars are being spent on HIV/AIDS programs" (Nyangulu-Chipofya, Daily Times, 4/1). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.