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Voice of Youth Sauti ya Vijana, Sexual Health, Tanzania

Working in partnership with the UK Department for International Development, Amref Health Africa’s project in Mtwara, Tanzania, seeks to address the denial and neglect of the rights of young people, particularly vulnerable girls.

Young people in Tanzania face multiple health and social challenges, and young people in rural parts of Tanzania such as Mtwara district, particularly young girls, have limited access to appropriate, quality health care services. In particular, sexual and reproductive health information and services are difficult to access, and while 60% of young people have had sex before the age of 18, only 6% used contraceptives. As a result, there is a high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDs amongst young people, and available data suggests that young women are more likely to undergo unsafe abortions and do not have access to post-abortion care.
Despite the Tanzanian government recognising  the right of children to universal primary education, a disproportionate number of girls do not complete primary education. The major obstacles to girls accessing education in Tanzania are child labour, prostitution, poverty, and the fact that girls who fall pregnant are generally expelled from school.
By training health workers to provide youth friendly services, we have been able to drastically increase the level of access for young people. We have also trained peer educators who spread the message into the communities.
Key Achievements so far:
  • Reduction in the number of primary school children getting pregnant from 257 per year to 10 per year
  • Increase in the number of young people accessing sexual health and reproductive rights services from 583 a year up to 4,200
  • 90% of the young people worked with have been reintegrated back into education or employment
In Mtwara, sexual and reproductive health education is now integrated into the school curriculum as a result of our work.