Friendly services will help to eliminate barriers that might be faced by young people in accessing sexual and reproductive health services. Those barriers can come from both inside and outside of a person. Examples of internal barriers are feeling shy, hesitating and fear of discrimination felt by young people who want to access the services. Some of the extern barriers can be about being treated with disrespect by the health provider, non comprehensive services, hard to get to the location, or a high cost of the services. So how can it be called youth friendly services?
Youth friendly service delivery is about providing services based on a comprehensive understanding of what young people in that particular society or community want, rather than being based only on what providers believe they need. It is also based on an understanding of, and respect for, the realities of young people’s diverse sexual and reproductive lives. It is about creating a service which young people trust and feel is there for them and their needs. Services that should be provided in a clinical setting are HIV and STI services, general services, youth counseling and contraception for youth. Providers should be trained to work competently, sensitively and respectfully with young people on their sexual and reproductive health needs. Services must be confidential, non-judgmental and private. Services should be accessible to all adolescents and young people irrespective of their age, marital status, sexual orientation or ability to pay.
Youth friendly services are also shown by the decoration of the location and special rooms provided for young people. The place should be decorated based on what youth likes, so they will feel comfortable to be in the place. Low cost, an accessible location and convenient clinic opening hours for young people are also characteristics of youth friendly services. It’s better if the clinic can be open not only in the morning, but also in late afternoons (after school), on some evenings and during weekends.
By providing youth friendly services, it is expected to increase the number of young people who will access the services and it also could help them in fulfilling their needs related to sexual and reproductive health. Go find out the nearest places in your home that provides youth friendly services! And don’t feel hesitate to come and get them!
Photo: Thanks to PKBI Bali