Lesotho: GL working hard to improve SRHR

Lesotho: GL working hard to improve SRHR

Date: December 25, 2018
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By Tokelo Lefoka

Maseru, 25 December: During the Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) workshop that was held in Mafeteng recently, Gender Links country manager Manteboheleng Mabetha advised clinics to forefront the struggle towards achieving SRHR (sexual reproductive health rights) and women’s rights.

The meeting was attended by 5 councils from within Mafeteng.

In her opening remarks, Manteboheleng Mabetha pointed out that they were launching the next step towards health and gender equality (50/50) and the implementation of sustainable development goals in maternal health.

The workshop aimed at strengthening gender and SRHR plans and budgeting at local level, training local councils and young people on SRHR. The goal was also to enhance SRHR at community level through developing youth and gender aware policies, service directories and promoting better access to information.

The meeting also discussed the importance of ensuring greater freedom of choice for adolescents and young people. It also looked at the use of social media and IT to demand greater accountability and delivery on SRHR.

A participant, Realeboha Mohapi, who works at catholic clinic said, “We provide people with education about sex though we do not provide them with services.” She further added that the nature of their clinic affects service delivery.

Commenting on the same, Mabetha said that religion plays a vital role because in many cases people cannot talk about sex because of the church they attend. She further said that they will have to find a way of approaching churches and teach them about the importance of SRHR.

Furthermore, the group agreed that many parents fail their children because they do not talk about sex. This is especially true for girls who are not told about changes they go through when they start their menstruation cycle.

The participants further agreed that even though talking about sex is seen a taboo in many communities, parents should talk about it with their children. Schoolteachers should also teach students about SRHR issues through subjects such as life skills, a subject that was introduced in schools by the government. The discussion also encouraged councils to teach their varied communities about SRHR at the community.

It is important to understand that women and girls endure a lot more hardship where issues of reproductive health are concerned. For instance, some clinics deny girls’ access to family planning (contraceptives), thereby exposing them to unwanted pregnancies.

 Women and girls die from childbirth and pregnancy related causes remote areas due to lack of health facilities. Gender Links country manager Manteboheleng Mabetha urged clinics and councils to take part in SRHR campaigns as way of dealing with such issues.

“In times of pregnancy, sexual reproductive health services including skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care often became unavailable leaving pregnant women susceptible to life-threatening complications.” Says FAKO.

Gender Links is working hard towards ensuring sexual reproductive health rights knowledge increases through conducting workshops, involving the youth and clinics that serve councils.

Gender Links Lesotho has improved access to SRHR services and provision of high quality education to the youth through local councils and clinics. The goal is to provide comprehensive and informed sexual education that the youth can rely on.

Lesotho should allow the access to services and Knowledge programs that increase direct access to SRHR information and services for young people. This could be done through strategies that uphold human rights, respect diversity, address structural discrimination and exclusion, ensure meaning youth participation and reinforce partnerships.

The workshop was very successful because all participants took part in the discussion and decision-making.

Tokelo Lefoka is an intern at Gender Links Lesotho. This article is part of the Gender Links News Service #VoiceandChoiceCampaign

Image: Tokelo Lefoka

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