The Digital Learning Solution Series: Adolescent and youth friendly health services

Our journey with Paediatric & Adolescent Treatment Africa (PATA) continues by collaborating on a new e-learning course READY for SRHR/HIV integration! for health providers who work with adolescents and young people.

Adolescents and young people are at the centre of the HIV epidemic. They are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection for social, political, cultural, biological, and economic reasons. Alarmingly, adolescents and young people represent a growing share of people living with HIV worldwide.

Adolescents and young people used to be either treated as children or adults. In both instances, health providers were missing the opportunities to address adolescents’ and young people’s unique needs, risks, and vulnerabilities in their approach. However, in the last couple of years, the situation has been improving to provide adolescent and youth friendly health services (AYFHS).

However, it is shown that adolescents and young people need more than having AYFHS addressing only the physical complaints prepared for them, but a holistic approach developed with them. They need to be increasingly considered as experts on their own needs and priorities, expanding the AYFHS for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and psychosocial services (PSS).

The READY for SRHR/HIV integration! e-course, co-created by PATA and Health[e]Foundation, is meant to tackle the above. With this new course, we aim to sensitize frontline health providers and create awareness of attitudinal and organizational issues affecting the delivery of AYFHS and integrated HIV/SRHR/PSS services, increasing knowledge and skills of frontline providers working with AYPLHIV to advance their SRHR and psychosocial wellbeing. And lastly, creating awareness amongst health providers of the benefits of providing a holistic package of care to AYPLHIV which considers their SRHR, and PSS needs as complementary to and an essential part of for their HIV-related health outcomes.

Currently, the first modules of the course are being piloted with the health providers in South Africa and we cannot wait to hear their first impressions. READY for SRHR/HIV integration! will be launched in August 2021 and we are excited to be part of making a change in capacity building for health providers and ultimately for adolescent and young people’s well-being.