Health workers ignore confidentiality

It has taken 18-year-old Rudado Mtandi (not her real name) two weeks to pluck up the courage to visit her local clinic for treatment for a sexually transmitted infection.

Young people need to be assured of patient confidentiality when visiting their local clinics.
Young people need to be assured of patient confidentiality when visiting their local clinics.

“Seeking early treatment is important, but it has taken me so lond because I have been scared that the nurses here know my mother and they will tell her that I have an STI,”

said Mtandi. “Last year, my mother said she knew the HIV status of another girl in my neighbourhood. She said her friend who worked at a certain health institution had told her.”

This is just one example of many youths who avoid public healthcare institutions for fear of victimisation. Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council Assistant

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Programmes Officer, Rachael Goba, said her organisation was aware of cases where youths have had their right to confidentiality violated by workers at local clinics.

“ZNFPC has been training service providers to be youth-friendly. The organisation notes with regret that there are service providers who violate youths’ reproductive health rights as they assume parental roles,” said Goba.

Students and Youths Working on Reproductive Health Action Team Information and Advocacy Officer, Beatrice Savadye, admitted that youth-friendly services were limited when it came to issues of sexuality

Savadye lamented the absence of medium to long term methods of contraception within most tertiary institutions where the male condom is the only one readily available.

“Most female students within tertiary institutions around Zimbabwe say they are stigmatized when they try to access alternative methods of contraception at their respective colleges. There is a need to scale up the provision of youth-friendly corners where information that relates to youths is readily available. Sexual and reproductive health concerns for youths should be addressed at both policy and structural level,” she said.

The Executive Director of SafAIDS, Lois Chingandu, said there was a need for service providers to focus on prevention strategies and not set the parameters on who should access what.

“There is need for stakeholders to be professional in conducting their duties and not moralise HIV issues as it costs lives,” said Chingandu. “We need to challenge the way women think because the emancipation of women is the final straw in the health revolution.”

Post published in: News

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