Participants at the National Policy Dialogue for Young People held in Harare have questioned the idea of combining young people aged between 10 and 24 years into one group to discuss sexual and reproductive health issues, saying the age difference is too wide to effectively tackle issues affecting all members in the group.Â Â Â Â
According to a Demographic and Health Survey conducted in the country in 2006, many young people are failing to get access to information and support for protecting their own sexual and reproductive health.
Speaking on the sidelines of a National Policy Dialogue for Young People organised by the Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SafAids), Masvingo Constituency senator, Minah Mandava, said sexual and reproductive health information will benefit young people with making informed decision promoting good health.Â
She however emphasised the need to divide the young adolescents into smaller groups instead of combining them into one large group with ages ranging from 10 to 24 years.
SafAids director, Ms Monica Mandiki, however said the 10 to 24 year age group is just a guideline set by the World Health Organisation.
She said when sexual and reproductive health programs are implemented in various communities, the young people are grouped accordingly.
Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives Development in the Junior Parliament, Sharon Shamuyarira, said information on sexual and reproductive health should be made available to young people.
She also spoke strongly against distributing condoms in schools.
Young adolescents between the 14 to 24 age group account for 40 percent of new HIV infections around the world.
The government of Zimbabwe is working in partnership with various organisations to enable young people to access information and provide space for discussion of reproductive health, gender and related issues.