Manerela+, an interfaith and voluntary membership network of religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and Aids, says enhancing youth clubs would ensure access to quality anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services among the youth.
Speaking in an interview at the end of the Save the Children- funded Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme implemented in Rumphi and Balaka, Manerela+ programmes officer, Harold Kachepatsonga, said they advocated that children be made aware of their SRH rights and receive comprehensive sexuality information and services.
“About 25 000 children were reached with consistent and regular information, education and communication from the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they are better informed of their SRH rights to develop positive behaviours for adopting safer sex practices when they become sexually active,” he said.
Kachepatsonga said Manerela+ also advocated the need to protect and support children who are living with HIV to access quality health services with the support of parents or caregivers, community leaders and religious leaders.
Councillor Thomson Bwanali of Liwawadzi Ward in Balaka said parents, caregivers, teachers, community leaders, religious leaders and healthcare workers should be reminded that they have a shared responsibility to break the silence on sexuality, gender, SRH rights and HIV and Aids issues.
Established in 2004, Manerela+ mobilises religious leaders and engages them as agents of change towards increased HIV and Aids prevention practices.