National Youth-Led Dialogue on SRHR and YFHS: Amplifying Voices, Catalyzing Change

Lilongwe, Malawi: In a powerful display of youth engagement, the Sunbird Hotel in Lilongwe played host to a National Youth-Led Dialogue on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRHR) and Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS). With the prestigious presence of Hon. Minister Khumbize Kandodo from the Department of Health, the dialogue tackled crucial issues impacting young people’s access to critical healthcare.

The day commenced with an in-depth analysis of the 2023/24 National Health Budget Report, focusing on SRHR and YFHS allocations. Representatives from the Government of Malawi, the National Council of Malawi, and the Ministry of Youth delved into funding commitments, highlighting both progress and areas requiring further attention.

A spirited panel discussion followed, exploring the government’s role in strengthening SRHR/YFHS provision. Renowned speakers like Mr. Hastings Banda from Active Initiatives for Development and Ms. Rehema Patrick from SRMNCAH+N shared valuable insights on policy gaps, implementation challenges, and potential solutions. Mr. Baldwin Mkumbadzala represented the Ministry of Youth, emphasizing their commitment to empowering young people to navigate the healthcare system. Further expertise was provided by Mr. Francis Zhuwao from the Department of Policy and Planning within the Ministry of Health.

The dialogue extended beyond national policy, as case studies showcased the impact of youth advocacy and innovative SRHR initiatives at the grassroots level. The story of Mponera Rural Hospital demonstrated how impactful youth engagement can be in improving YFHS delivery. Furthermore, discussions explored access to SRHR and YFHS for key populations and marginalized groups among the youth, ensuring no one is left behind in the journey towards health equity.

To conclude, a second panel discussion brought together relevant stakeholders, including technical experts from key ministries, to explore ways to optimize youth engagement and ensure access to SRHR and YFHS for all young people. This dynamic exchange fostered meaningful connections and pathways for future collaboration.

This National Youth-Led Dialogue was a landmark event, organized by a SRMNCAH+N Youth Platform in collaboration with the Girls Activist youth organisation (GAYO), For Equality,Oxfam,SAT MALAWI, Herliberty and other supporting partners. It served as a potent platform for young people to amplify their voices, influence policy, and advocate for equitable access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. As the dialogue concluded, a sense of collective energy and optimism resonated among participants, leaving no doubt that young Malawians are ready to champion their own health and well-being.

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