By Elizabeth Ndhlovu-Dumbreni

Twenty-six year old Thompson Maseko from Bubi District, who has been with the SAfAIDS Asikhulume/ Ngatitaure/ Let’s Talk programme since its inception in Matabeleland North early last year, says he has since mastered the art of eloquent speaking, as well as engaging in dialogue that yields fruitful results. This comes in the wake of at least 42 children attaining birth certificates as a result of programme members’ intervention and participation.

Through recent social accountability monitoring with support from Save the Children Sweden, SAfAIDS Zambia has gathered evidence that systematic poor public resource management is a major cause of limited access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in the country. This is a result of limited knowledge and skills among the duty bearers in appreciating that delivery of SRH services is their obligation. In turn, this is aggravated by limited advocacy and social accountability knowledge and skills on the part of adolescents  and young people, and their inability to hold duty bearers to account about the services they provide.

SAfAIDS Zambia is making steady progress in building the capacity of adolescents and young people so that they can hold policy makers and budget holders to account in allocating adequate resources to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for adolescent girls and young people. SAfAIDS Tariro Makanga-Chikumbirike (TMC) had a one-on-one with SAfAIDS Zambia Country Representative, Chrispin Chomba (CC), to shed more light on their work on social accountability.

Desire Ncube is a young woman aged 31. In 2017, she trained as a Youth Champion under the SAfAIDS Asikhulume, Ngatitaure, Let’s Talk project. As a young person, she is bold and unafraid to speak out on behalf of other young people and is also chairperson of the School Development Committee of her local primary school. This is an indication of her dedication to community development and of how well she is perceived in her community.

Health is an overarching right, as one cannot enjoy any other rights if they are in ill health. Citizens need to know that it is their right to have access to appropriate healthcare services. If these are not provided, they can take responsible authorities to task by demanding that right. In creating awareness and empowering communities to have the right knowledge and information, SAfAIDS and Restless Development engaged the services of a legal practitioner to unpack the importance of access to health services at the National Dialogue on strengthening access to health in Bulawayo on the 2nd of February 2018.