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UN sets up at MSU
Stephen Chadenga

UN agency sets up health resource centre at MSU
A UNITED Nations agency has set up a state-of -the-art model health resource centre at the Midlands State University in Gweru to help mitigate the growing number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among students.

The health facility, which boasts of pool tables, computers, HIV and Aids literature, a boardroom and counselling room, is the brainchild of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Students and Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT).

Speaking during the recent launch of the centre, UNFPA country representative, Cheikh Tidiane, said universities have become a major target for HIV programming as the country seeks to curb the spread of STIs among young people.

“Many young people in Zimbabwe continue to suffer from such problems as unwanted pregnancies, HIV and Aids, unsafe abortions and STIs due to, among many other reasons, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and services thus limiting their full potential,” Cisse said.

“Let me commend the leadership of this university for placing such great importance on equipping young people with the necessary life skills and information related to their sexual reproductive health and rights by opening this resource centre. UNFPA is extremely proud to be part of this because it strongly resonates with our mandate.”

Youths constitute over 60 percent of the country’s 13 million population. The 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey states that one in 10 adolescent girls give birth each year while HIV prevalence stands at 6,7% in the same group.

The report also shows that 41% of the young people have comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention methods.

Hastings Tengende, a student and peer educator at the university, said the model should be replicated in other institutions with urgency to protect the country’s demographic dividend.

“As students, we are celebrating a library on sexual reproductive health and recreation centre in the same breadth. We thank MSU, Saywhat and UNFPA. It reminds us that rights come with responsibility. We are looking forward to the extension of this service to other tertiary institutions,” Tengende said.
National Aids Council (NAC) Gweru district Aids co-ordinator Murari Hwingwiri said, “Youths are highly sexually active.

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