5 June 2021
On Saturday the 5th of June 2021, the PAPSE Project with support from the Africa University Clinical Research Center (AUCRC) held a third adolescent clinic session at Old Mutare Hospital (OMH). The workshop drew a total of 35 participants, which included 20 adolescents, 5 AUCRC staff, 2 peer educators, 6 OMH personnel, and 3 supervisors. The theme of the clinic was Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health (ASRH). ASRH related topics such as personal grooming, abortion, and its ramifications, family planning, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and reasons for participating in sex early were discussed during the session. Sr. Zuze, the PAPSE Project Coordinator delivered the opening remarks and a brief description of the PAPSE initiative.
Some of the other presentations given included pregnancy, infant care and cleanliness, adolescent sexual reproductive health and domestic violence. Sr. Tsitsi Murapa, the sister in Charge of the Africa University Bishop Alfred Norris Health Center acknowledged that the majority of sexually active adolescents do not use contraception, putting them at risk for unplanned pregnancies, STIs, and illnesses. During her presentation, it was also highlighted that adolescents deny engaging in any sexual activity and, as a result, are hesitant to obtain contraception. The tolerance of society towards males who engage in sex early as opposed to women who are largely stigmatized was also discussed as well as the misconception that family planning obligations are the responsibility of women with such beliefs absolving men of seeking out information about family planning .
The Adolescent clinic shines a spotlight on subjects that are seen as taboo and are rarely discussed in many homes , schools and communities leaving young people exposed to acquiring information or advice from sources that can be misleading. These topics frequently elicit strong feelings, make people uncomfortable, and are prone to misunderstanding, yet the issues must be addressed. Timely, contextually relevant and accurate sexual reproductive health education is critical especially in young societies that dominate most of Africa and contain a large number of people of reproductive age. A considerable number of abortion-related fatalities and perinatal morbidity and mortality can be minimized through such education initiatives.