ADOLESCENT girls have been encouraged to have confidence; discipline and work hard if they want bright future in their endevours.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr John Jingu, made the advice in Dodoma over the weekend, while closing some health stakeholders’ annual meeting on implementing ‘adolescent girls and young women health and wellbeing projects.
Elaborating, Dr Jingu cautioned them to be careful with a number of temptations that may disrupt their goals in life, saying: “If you fall into trap of those temptations you will have your dreams cut short.”
He said elements of confidence, discipline and hard work should be the factors for them to help overcome the temptations, as he equally, encouraged them to study hard.
The PS further said several girls and young women find themselves in trap of temptations and consequently become victims of teenage pregnancies, HIV and also drop out of school.
“May I take this opportunity to instruct Social and Community Workers to educate the societies on the need to shy away from norms and traditions, which deny adolescents girls and young women their rights,” added Dr Jingu.
Opening the meeting, Deputy Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, Policy, Coordination, Parliament, Labor, Employment, and Youth, Mr Patrobas Katambi said there was a need for the group to be cautious of HIV transmission by taking the needed precautions.
However, Deputy Minister Katambi said the 2016/17 study report showed that the prevalence rate continued to decline, adding: “The average national HIV prevalence rate is 4.7 per cent, the regions with highest prevalence and their percentage in brackets are Njombe (11.4 per cent) and Iringa (11.3 per cent) and Mbeya (9.3 per cent) and in Dodoma Region it has increased from 2.9 per cent to 5 per cent.”
Mr Katambi said the study indicates that at least 72,000 people get new infections every year and 40 percent of them are young people, accounting to 80 percent being girls aged 15 – 24 years.
He further said it was important to encourage young people and others to test for HIV status, adding that early test will help those infected to start medication on time.
“Through 2016/17 survey report, the government saw the need to make joint efforts with stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS, especially in the group of young women,” he pointed out.
On his part, Director-General of the Tanzania AIDS Commission (TACAIDS), Dr Leonard Maboko said the objective of the meeting was to bring stakeholders together to discuss achievements and challenges they face and find a way forward.