Partnering with Today’s Youth for a Healthier Future
August 11th, 2022 | News
August 11th, 2022 | News
On this year’s International Youth Day (Friday, August 12), we must remember that the youth of today and coming generations are an essential part of our global community. At JSI, we work closely with them to strengthen their knowledge on key health issues and partner with them to convey educational information on HIV, family planning and reproductive health, tuberculosis (TB), and more.
Our USAID DISCOVER-Health project in Zambia helped establish areas at health facilities where young people can access reliable information on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health to make smart choices. Fifty of the project’s 89 health sites now have a youth-friendly corner.
The USAID Supporting an AIDS-Free Era (SAFE) project works closely with the Ministry of Health to reach Zambia’s youth, especially adolescent girls and young women, by recruiting, training, and mentoring health care workers on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Because of the project’s advocacy campaigns, 73 percent of people initiated on PrEP in 2022 were 15–25 years old.
Working closely with Ghana Health Service, Ghana AIDS Commission, and civil society organizations, our USAID-funded Strengthening the Care Continuum project trains health care workers from selected facilities across 29 districts in the Western, Western North, and Ahafo Regions to operate 85 adolescent and youth-friendly clinics. These clinics, which the project helped establish, offer HIV education, counseling, and testing, and work with youth leaders to inform and mobilize their peers to use these services. These efforts helped more than 2,000 adolescents and youth access HIV services.
Our USAID RHITES-North, Lango project adopted a peer-to-peer approach called the Youth and Adolescent Peers (YAPS) program to empower adolescents and young people living with HIV to become change agents. Through the program, health workers have trained 89 YAPS ambassadors at 29 health facilities to provide referral services, life-skills training, and other support to their peers with HIV. The YAPS have reached more than 6,000 of these adolescents and young people since 2019.
In Pakistan, our USAID Integrated Health Systems Strengthening and Service Delivery Activity supported a school handwashing and hygiene initiative. The students conveyed their new knowledge to their families and communities to protect them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population media officers who were trained by our USAID Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program on social and behavior change communication approaches worked with local youth groups on creative ways to convey family planning and reproductive health messages. In Aswan Governorate, the youth created a series of well-received small plays for their community and continue to push out informed messages on family planning and reproductive health.
Partnering directly with the Bilge Club, a youth group in Kyrgyzstan, has helped our Cure Tuberculosis project convey accurate information about TB while reducing harmful stigma. Following a special training by the project, 51 students from Bishkek and Osh Universities held information sessions for more than 2,000 university and high school students in areas with a higher concentration of migrants and socially disadvantaged groups to debunk myths about TB and reduce discrimination.
Through our partnerships with ministries of health, health care workers, civil society organizations, and adolescents, we strive to build a healthier and more equitable future for young people everywhere.