The youth speak up

A friendly environment is a right, not a favour

28 January 2020 | Education

Elizabeth Joseph

Young people all over Windhoek came together this weekend to discuss ways in which the health ministry and the government can make hospital facilities more child and adolescent friendly.

The Junior Council, in conjunction with the mayor of Windhoek, hosted a panel discussion with panellists like Lifeline/Childline’s Efraim Amukoto and a representative from the ministry of health and social services.

One of the topics of discussion was what young people think is an adolescent and environmentally friendly hospital facility.

Although the students were mostly tight lipped, some raised some strong points.

Junior mayor Grace Makinza said it is often hard for young people to feel respected and safe in a healthcare facility, maybe because they are looked down upon.

The City Of Windhoek Junior Council hopes that giving young people this platform would show them that their voice matters and that they can speak up and be heard at any moment.

“Most adolescents living with HIV experience rejection and stereotype within their diverse community due to the lack of knowledge and acceptance of their current situation,” Makinza said.

“Hence, the affected and infected adolescents often lack the support to disclose their status, which leads to anxiety and depression.

“Therefore, it is important for medical facilities to be accessible and friendly, as well as for the officials working there to be non-judgmental towards the adolescents using their facilities. This would help people open up and come forward for treatment,” she said.

All the concerns were noted by the panel. Although it might take a while, the council hopes that the concerns of the young people have not fallen on deaf ears.

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