RIGHTS groups are working with the government to develop guidelines that will help promote sexual and reproductive health rights of persons living with disabilities (PLWD) in the country.
Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR-Africa) announced here that the first draft document has already been submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister in charge of people with disabilities for approval.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10 per cent of the world population lives with disabilities and the right group organization say they face stigma, segregation and humiliation by service providers. “We have started working with the government to see how best we can all promote the rights of persons with disabilities,” said WGNRR-Africa Country Director Mr Raymond Nondo.
He was speaking during a leadership summit which brought youth to deliberate best approaches to adopt during a capacity building and awareness creation on Sexual and Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) in Dodoma, Dar es Salaam, Kigoma and Mwanza regions.
Matilda James, SRHR Youth Champion Academy Coordinator explained that the programme targeted youth aged 15 and 21.
She said other than people with disabilities, the youth, in general, are left alone and elders have been standing on their behalf.
She said lack of appropriate sexual and reproductive health right education to youth had resulted in endless social problems including the outbreak of non-communicable diseases, stigma, genderbased violence and school dropouts.
Ms Matilda said the organization has been working with Wadada Centre, Haki Zetu, Tawea, Kividea, RUT, Salama Foundation and Binti Salha Foundation to advocate for best quality environment to leaders, schools and communities across districts and regions.
“The youth have helped to create an understanding of the importance of providing the right environment that promotes sexual and reproductive health rights. They have helped schools rehabilitate toilets and some have been able to set special rooms for a girlchild to change their pads,” she said.
Anitha Samson, a legal officer at Wadada Solution on Gender-Based Violence admits that the education being offered by the youth will help change people’s mindset towards improving sexual and reproductive health rights.
“If more youth are reached out we can together end early child marriage, unplanned child pregnancies and diseases,” she said, adding: “The children will be able to perform well in their classroom activities.”
One of the youth champions, Raphael Denis of the Dar es Salaam based Binti Salha Foundation said youth have a key role to play in the development of the nation through engaging productively in social and economic activities.