RESIDENTS of Lusaka West area have received with mixed feelings the community reproductive health education campaign which involves topics on early marriage and alcohol abuse.
Mr Daniel Sikanyika, a resident of Kamango community zone 4, said peer educators had an important role to play and sensitize communities against early marriages, alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancies.
Mr Sikanyika said peer educators must be given full support by Government and the community as a whole because they played an important role in sensitizing the public on health issues.
Sonia Banda of Malcolm community zone 10 suggested that during outreach programmes, peer educators must sensitize children about HIV/AIDS and the importance of education.
But some parents are against the reproductive health education, alleging that the teaching of contraceptive methods was the major contributing factor to early marriages and STI transmission among the youth.
Agnes Banda, of Sunsakabudula, said contraceptive methods were only meant for married people and not the young ones.
But Obrain Mweene, a community health worker at Kazimva clinic, said the clinic was offering a health youth-friendly corner at the centre from Monday to Friday, adding that about 80 percent of people have welcomed it.
Mr Mweene said the main purpose of ‘‘friendly corner’’ was to empower youths and adolescents with skills such as decision-making and comprehensive sexual education (CSE).
He said the project was also aimed at seeing that by 2020 the country recorded zero tolerance to early marriage and unwanted pregnancies as well as achieve reduction in HIV/AIDS cases.
Mr Mweene stated that the friendly corner was not only for educating but youths and adolescents had access to health services such as contraceptives and condoms because it had been a challenge to most of them to acquire them.
Mr Mweene said peer educators were faced with challenges in reaching out in some places such as Mondengwa, Malcolm, Gomora, Kapampa and Sunsakabudula because they were in remote areas.
And sister-in-charge at Kazimva clinic Mwaba Chunda said the contraceptive method and reproductive education was aimed at protecting youths from getting involved in active sex and the concept of contraceptive pills at a tender age.
Kazimva clinic is a Government health facility located along the Mungwi road about seven kilometres from the city centre and caters for outside catchment areas like Zingalume, Lilanda, George, Anderson, Soweto and Garden House compounds.