Providing health services to the young, wild and free

The Young, Wild and Free Programme (YWFP) is a pilot project which began in March 2020 as a research study which was conducted among young key populations. The purpose of the study was to determine the gaps that young key populations have in terms of sexual reproductive health and harm reduction services. In the subsequent months, the same pilot research studies were initiated in South Africa, Kenya, Russia, and Vietnam for LGBTQI youth, sex workers, and drug users between the ages of 16-24.
A community-based participatory research (CBPR) study found YKPs felt discriminated against in healthcare facilities when seeking access to services. The YWFP identified the need to conduct key populations sensitisation workshops among health care workers in an effort to reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by young key populations.
A total of 25 awareness campaigns and 18 sensitisation trainings were conducted by the team in the eThekwini district. The programme provided ‘youth friendly’ stickers for facilities to display to show that the facility had received sensitisation and that youth-related issues and harm reduction services had been integrated within these facilities. Additionally, psychosocial support was also provided to 65 clients on an ongoing bases during the implementation phase.
YWFP has made a significant impact on young homeless and home-based substance users, their parents/guardians, health care workers, and the general public.