Key things needed for an effective Youth Friendly Health Program
Salesian Life Choices started its Youth Friendly Health program in 2007, over the last 10 years of running the program we have had successes and disappointments.
We have learnt that in order to run a successful youth friendly health program, evaluating the program and it outcomes, on a continuous basis would give the information we need to understand the following questions: Does the program work? Is it having the desired outcome that we hope? Is it meeting the needs of youth? Does it create behavior change? It is the answering of these questions that has saw the program evolve and change over the years, not only in methodology but also in delivery.
Based on research, here are some key things which is needed to run a successful youth friendly health service focusing on HIV/Aids and sexual reproductive health (these key things can be used in any program regardless of specialization).
- Staff members need to be trained in youth-friendly services.
- All staff need to demonstrate respect and concern for young people
- Privacy and confidentiality need to be honored
- Adequate time needs to be allocated for client and provider interaction
- Educational material needs to be available on site
- Convenient hours for young people. What this means is that youth should be able to access the service at times which do not conflict with school, work etc.
- Relaxed attire
- Drop-in clients welcomed and appointments arranged rapidly
- No overcrowding and short waiting times
- Group discussions available: While Separate space or special times is set aside for young clients.
- Convenient location. What this means is that the service needs to be easily accessible for youth. It can be in the form of a mobile clinic stationed on campus or the service can be provided at a youth centre or school.
But remember… Evaluation is essential, it is the one thing that informs the program. Use evaluation result to reflect and improve and program to ensure you are meeting the needs of your clients.