Most of the regions in which MSH works have a high concentration of youth at risk for early childbearing and HIV infection. MSH targets these youth through numerous interventions, both directly in the form of leadership training for youth groups and programs to increase access to health and nutrition services and indirectly through health systems strengthening and grants management for youth-focused organizations.
We conduct our youth-centric work in urban and rural areas across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Recent examples include:
Uganda -STRIDES for Family Health
The USAID-funded STRIDES for Family Health project has established youth-friendly corners for educational entertainment in 58 facilities across the 15 collaborating districts and has provided entertainment equipment such as TVs, DVDs, and sets of games.
Haiti- Leadership, Management, and Sustainability
Youth make up more than half of Haiti’s total population—estimated at 8.4 million people—and they are the group most vulnerable to health crises such as HIV & AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. MSH’s USAID-funded youth-oriented leadership development program focuses on reducing the prevalence of HIV & AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and lowering the rate of teen pregnancy.
South Africa Integrated Primary Health Care (IPHC) Project
Although HIV prevalence is declining in sub-Saharan Africa, recent estimates show that 13.7 percent of South African youth under age 20 are HIV positive. The USAID-funded Integrated Primary Health Care project (2004 to 2011) initiated a peer-mentoring program to train youth mentors to promote voluntary counseling and testing. The program placed trained mentors in hospitals and clinics, where they supported and guided young people entering the health system—an efficient and promising approach that helps create youth-friendly services at the community level.
Eastern Uganda Strengthening TB & AIDS Response-Eastern Region (STAR-E Project)
The STAR-E project in Uganda (2009 to 2015), organized, trained, and supports youth groups tasked with conducting community-sensitization activities for HIV prevention. Funded by USAID, the project has established four youth centers run by health facilities, staffed by trained youth workers, and managed by community leaders. To attract youth clients, the project offers services such as HIV counseling and testing, reproductive health and family planning services, sexually transmitted infection treatment, and counseling for victims of sexual abuse and assault, in an informal environment that includes indoor games, films, music, and reading.