The Canadian Government has pledged an additional $3 million USD in funding for an adolescent health project known as ‘Her Future Her Choice,’ currently being implemented in various regions of Zambia. The announcement was made by Canadian Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen, during his visit to Liteta District Hospital in Chisamba District, Central Province, where the project is in progress.
The ‘Her Future Her Choice’ project, which commenced in 2019, has garnered commendation from international cooperating partners for its positive impact on target communities. Minister Hussen expressed his government’s awareness of the challenges faced by developing nations like Zambia in providing comprehensive adolescent health services. In response, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has decided to increase its support for this vital initiative.
Yvonne Chibiya, Country Representative for Oxfam Zambia, expressed gratitude to the Canadian Government for collaborating with their organization to enhance adolescent health in Zambia. Chibiya highlighted the growing awareness among youths in beneficiary communities regarding their sexual rights, attributing this positive change to the project’s efforts.
“Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) are at the core of Oxfam’s mission. In areas where ‘Her Future Her Choice’ is implemented, the prevalence of HIV, early and unplanned pregnancies has significantly decreased,” Chibiya noted.
Chisamba District Health Director, Moono Shankanga, affirmed that the project has empowered adolescents with crucial information on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), enabling them to make informed decisions about their sexual health. Adolescents now have easier access to Sexual Reproductive Services (SRS) from healthcare facilities without facing stigma.
Dr. Shankanga reported an increase in the uptake of SRS at three health facilities: Malombe Rural Health Centre, Chikonkomene Rural Health Post, and Liteta District Hospital. These facilities now offer youth-friendly spaces where adolescents can comfortably seek SRS, including contraceptives and comprehensive abortion care.
Through Peer-to-Peer sensitization, adolescents have been encouraged to access SRS and have open discussions about their sexual health. Additionally, the health department has partnered with traditional leaders to promote positive social and cultural practices.
Martha Phiri, an Adolescent Peer Educator at Liteta District Hospital, shared her personal experience, stating that being part of the project has equipped her with knowledge about sexual health. She emphasized that being a Christian does not mean she should be ignorant about sexual matters and that she now feels better prepared to make informed decisions regarding her sexual health.