CCIH 2012 Conference, Breakout 2, Christine Washington Davis, Christian Innovations in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care, Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health

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Christine Washington Davis of the Christian HIV and AIDS Network of Liberia and Seventh Day Adventist Church discusses the prevalence of teenage pregnancy and HIV infection among Liberian adolescents …

Christine Washington Davis of the Christian HIV and AIDS Network of Liberia and Seventh Day Adventist Church discusses the prevalence of teenage pregnancy and HIV infection among Liberian adolescents and how her organization is addressing the challenge.

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  • 3. INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUNDLiberia’s overall maternal mortality rate is994/100,000 live births, one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.Contributing factors are:1. 1.High rates of unplanned pregnancies;10% of children under 15 get pregnant(RECENT UNICEF REPORT ON THE SITUTATION OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN IN LIBERIA)2. Induced unsafe abortions3. Poor youth knowledge of sexual reproductive health (SRH)4. Lack of such services targeting young people
  • 4. The Rapid Assessment Analysis andAction planning (RAAAP), 2009discovered that:1. 50% of female youth surveyed had already started child bearing, and2. 52% of them reported a first choice for child bearing during teenage years.Early marriages with the resulting early fertility are culturally motivated placing young mothers and their children at high risk of morbidity and mortality. Based on these findings, our focus was solely directed to the youth in Liberia. Liberia have a youthful population which is between the ages of 10-35yr,it also make up 55.6% of the total population.
  • 5. Therefore, the programdecided to engagesAdolescents to promote theirown Reproductive and SexualHealth Care.
  • 6. Objectives: Youth friendly health facility establishedestablished and ASRH counseling andrelated services provided in four county byby 2013 36 county wide sensitization campaignscampaigns concerning ASRH using dramadrama groups, radio, town hall meetings,meetings, and stakeholder conferencesconducted in every districts by 2013 80 Peer Educators selected from 40 newlynewly formed community action Groups (5(5 members from each group) targetingyouth in and out of school trained by 20132013
  • 7.  2 VCT (Voluntary HIV counseling and testing Centers) specifically targeting youths who are not being tested established Community register for all adolescent pregnancies set up by 2011 Train 30 health professionals from fifteen selected health facilities in the provision of youth friendly services trained by 2013.
  • 8. The activities include:Construction of youth-friendly reproductivehealth units at existing health facilities toensure easy access to quality SexualReproductive Health services. Build the capacity of community outreachworkers such as Traditional Trained Midwivesand county level certified midwives to increaseprovider competence in reproductive healthcare services in selected facilities.Train health care workers in the provision ofyouth friendly services.
  • 9. Provide in-service training for health facilitystaff on STIs and proper use of contraceptivedevices.Train, engage, and equip a cadre of youthpeer educators in and out of school to carryout awareness raising amongst their peer,distribute RH IEC materials and Condoms.
  • 10. Process and Results: An enabling environment for boy and girls of12-14 years by engaging them and ensuringuniversal access to quality youth-friendly sexualand reproductive health services. Community-based Adolescent Sexual &Reproductive Health services engaged oneducating boys and girls of 12-17 years on theirsexuality and reproduction and assisting them indeveloping their life skills needed to address theirsexual and reproductive health issues.
  • 11. Reproductive health education campaignswere through community radios andcommunity based drama groups in locallanguages widely spoken in Liberia. Awareness raising campaigns werecomplemented by billboards, cell phone textmessages, many other IEC/BCC materialsand condom distribution among youth andgeneral population.
  • 12. The open air street-to-street and door –todoor encounters with local staff in thecommunities to promote RHawareness, engaged on distribution of condomsand IEC materials has proven worthwhile.B.) Established youth –friendly reproductivehealth units at existing health facilities intargeted districts to ensure easy access toquality sexual Reproductive Health Services.
  • 13. C.) The capacity of community outreachworkers such as Traditional TrainedMidwives (TTMs), and county level certifiedmidwives to increase provider ability inreproductive health care services in selectedfacilities.D.) Established organizations such as theyouth assembly of the Federation of LiberianYouth (FLY),which are already servicingyoung people in it awareness raising effortswere used.
  • 14. Lessons from experienceThe project has built a long term andintense relationship with the youth andallowed us to work on the basic oftrust with them. This provided us the real opportunityengage community leaders inyouth in their reproductive needs.Community participation generated asense of ownership and helps to sustainservices at community level. Theof a cross-section of the community (women, teachers, parents etc.)
  • 15. Group meetings anddiscussions, training and engagingcommunity action groups, exchangevisits and youth-media participationinfluenced social/traditional norms tobecome more open to healthy behaviorchoices.The use of members of County levelyouth assemblies promoted ownershipfor sustaining youth-friendly RH servicesin various districts.There are visible evidences sexualbehavior change among youth men andwomen.
  • 16. All is not lost: from teenage pregnancy and. back to school Miatta Karnley, a pregnant teenage girl who once had a dream of going to school to become a successful future leader Miatta, a 17 year old pregnant girl who is faced with the harsh realities of early teenage pregnancy
  • 17. Miatta had a baby girl, but she is cloudedwith mountain financial and socialpressures Miatta is now in the 9th grade back to school and standing at the door of her classroom.