South African Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, supported by THC PPPrev leadership, officially launched the Malangeni Hub of Hope on Thursday, 26 October in Lusikisiki in OR Tambo.
PPPrev Director Jenny Mcloughlin, OR Tambo Regional Manager Luzuko Tosh and PPPrev Technical Advisor Thobeka Mchunu represented TB HIV Care.
The event introduced the Hub of Hope to the Malangeni community as a safe space for adolescents and youth (both in and out of school) with services including behaviour change sessions, risk assessments, psychosocial support, biomedical services and intensified economic strengthening.
TB HIV Care has rolled out Hubs of Hope in 20 supported clusters to take services directly to communities as “ïsibhedlela kubantu”.
The DREAMS programme partners with the Departments of Health, Social Development and Education to tackle social ills in communities, and the implementation of community-based services is a response to the rising statistics of teenage pregnancy and the high rate of HIV infections among adolescents and young people.
Dr Dhlomo said, “We are here because there is a rise in teenage pregnancy. I am charging you to have a plan about your future, choose abstinence and finish school to achieve better outcomes for your life.”
The Hub of Hope links adolescents and youth to adolescent and youth-friendly services (AYFS) located at the Malangeni Clinic, which is one of the provincial primary health care clinics in the OR Tambo district. It is located at Ingquza Hill Municipality in Malangeni.
“We encourage young people to utilise the AYFS facilities. This shows that they are responsible for their future; therefore, when they go to the facility to access the services, they should not be chased away because this facility is for them”, added Dr Dhlomo.
In addition, the Malangeni Hub of Hope aims to provide access to industrial skills development courses and leadership to support local adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in becoming economically empowered through securing employment or starting up small businesses.
“The Malangeni Hub of Hope is unique because of its location at the Chief Mjoji Palace. This shows the commitment of Malangeni’s traditional leadership to HIV prevention efforts and to change the lives of adolescents and youth in Malangeni.”, added Jenny Mcloughlin, Programme Director: PPPrev/PrEP.