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Zimbabwe CSO calls for review of laws restricting adolescents from accessing reproductive services

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(Xinhua/NAN) Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have called on the Parliament of Zimbabwe to remove age restrictions in accessing reproductive health services among adolescents to enable them avoid new HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies.


This was stated in a position paper calling for a review of the age of access to reproductive health-care services for adolescents.


The consortium of civil society working with adolescent girls and young women said on Wednesday that access to preventive tools would also help reduce AIDS-related deaths and unsafe abortions.


This was stated in a position paper calling for a review of the age of access to reproductive health-care services for adolescents,


The CSO said that laws and policies regulating access to such services in Zimbabwe created barriers for adolescents and blocked their access to vital services to protect themselves.


Although the Constitution guaranteed access to health services for all citizens and specified non-discrimination based on age, national HIV testing guidelines and the Public Health Act limited the age to accessing reproductive health services to 16 years, they noted.


“The age of consenting to sexual activity and the minimum age of marriage should not be linked to the age at which adolescents can access sexual and reproductive health information, education and services,” they said.


They said that 22 per cent of adolescent females aged between 15 and 19 years in Zimbabwe had begun child bearing, 1 in 6 teenagers (17 per cent) had given birth and another five per cent were estimated to be pregnant with their first child.


Statistics also showed that 48 per cent of young people in the country did not know their HIV status as they required parental consent to get tested. (Xinhua/NAN)


FAT/ABI

Edited by Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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