SA welcomes renewal of ESA commitment to 2030 for adolescent rights, sexual and reproductive health
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DURBAN - SOUTH Africa has welcomed the renewal of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Commitment to 2030, at the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa) which is being hosted at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.
Speaking on behalf of the Department of Basic Education yesterday, Anne Githuku-Shongwe said they were looking forward to the continued efforts towards the successful implementation of the ESA commitment.
The ESA Commitment seeks to ensure that the departments of Health and Education co-ordinate their commitment to adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights more efficiently. “We are particularly excited that as a region, we have agreed to continue the journey to enhance and accelerate our efforts to ensure that the health and well-being of adolescents and young people are advanced through the commitment we are about to endorse,” said Githuku-Shongwe.
The ESA Commitment renewal will be reaffirmed at the Icasa on Thursday.
She noted that Africa has a large population of young people and therefore a lot of effort must be invested in their future and well-being.
“Our young people are our hope for the development of the continent and as leaders of today we need to prioritise the health and well-being of young people for the betterment of Africa,” she added.
Githuku-Shongwe said that they were aware of the challenges faced by adolescent and young people, notably the high rate of HIV infections, rising numbers of unintended pregnancies, access to health and social services, especially sexual reproductive health services, gender-based violence and early marriages in sub-sahara Africa.
“For South Africa, the renewal of the ESA Commitment is significant as it affirms our continued efforts to strengthen the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education and access to Sexual Reproductive Health Services for our adolescent and young people in and out of school.
“It is therefore against this backdrop that as a country we welcome and agree to the regional call to extend the implementation of the ESA.
“This will ensure that this critical conversation does not fall on the backburner especially in light of the challenges that our country is facing due to Covid-19. The renewal of the ESA Commitment is a very important step we can take as a country to refocus efforts and remind ourselves of the agenda to end Aids by 2030,” she said.