BEKEZELA Home-based Care in partnership with SafAids on Saturday launched a new programme named Freshcom aimed at empowering young people with sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV information through advocacy, education and established referral network points.
Bekezela Home-based Care is a private voluntary organisation based in the Bubi district of Matabeleland North province.
The programme targets the mining, farming and religious apostolic church sector across the country in an attempt to reduce the high death rate caused by HIV-related illnesses.
Speaking on the sidelines of the programme launch at Turk Mine on the outskirts of Bulawayo along the Inyathi Road, Bekezela Home-Based Care director Innocent Mlambo said they wanted to disseminate SRHR information specifically discouraging inter-generational relationships.
“The programme realises the need to educate the gatekeepers and young people’s circle of care about SRHR and HIV challenges bedevilling young people and the various support services young people need to access,” Mlambo said.
“Community dialogues with parents, church leaders, traditional leaders, farming and mining activities will enhance the understanding and subsequent support of young people’s SRHR by the gatekeepers and their immediate circle of care.”
Mlambo said SRHR street music bashes, social media platforms, reading and radio listening clubs and talk about SRHR would increase young people’s awareness on HIV prevention and SRHR.
He said their aim was to contribute towards Millennium Development Goal 5 by enhancing SRHR of adolescents aged between 10 years to 14 years as well as the 15-24 age-groups.
Inyathi Ward 22 councillor Francis Zondo said the programme would go a long way in educating young people in mining and farming communities as many children had been orphaned by HIV-related diseases.
According to a preliminary report of the 2013 HIV estimates presented to various Aids stakeholders in Harare recently, the number of adults who died in 2013 went down from 50 230 in 2012 to 49 605.
The number of deaths among children between zero and 14 years has also gone down from about 36 000 (2003 statistics) to 10 795 in 2013.
In 2012, the child deaths recorded were 12 004.