The Sunday Mail
The Parent-Child Communication programme (PCC) has been applauded for helping parents to address sexual and reproductive health issues amongst children.
In an interview with journalists during a National AIDS Council (NAC) tour for journalists to appreciate the HIV situation in Mashonaland Central province, NAC’s Shamva District Coordinator Shepherd Zanamwe said the programme is aimed at ensuring that parents and children openly discuss HIV, sexual and reproductive health issues and drug abuse which are some of the key issues affecting young people.
“The initiative aims to close the gap between adults and the young people so that they can share information on various health reproductive issues ,”said Zanamwe.
The Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention and Support Organisation (ZAPSO) Shamva coordinator Cordellia Andrews said since the concept of aunties and uncles was no longer in existence the programme allows parents and children to be together and discuss various issues and at the same time parents taking time to understand the challenges being faced by children.
“Gender based violence, drug and sexual abuse, child marriages and unintended pregnancies are some of the issues which are discussed during sessions,” said Andrews.
Miss Andrews added that the programme is an effective tool in building healthy families and solid relationships amongst children and parents. She added that since the inception of PCC, fathers are able to discuss with the girl child any issues affecting them.
Andrews added that through the PCC programme, parents and their children now have a better understanding of the effects of child marriages, HIV and unintended pregnancies.
“A significant decline has been noted even in intergenerational sex and early child marriages as parents and children are now more equipped with information on these issues,” said Andrews.
Andrews also said they are also encouraging the girl child through the sister to sister programme to come up with income generating projects as a way of empowering them.
“We are encouraging them to set up money lending clubs so that they will not be tempted to engage in intergenerational sex and sex work”, said the ZAPSO coordinator.
One of the villagers Wadzanai Sunday said through the programme men now have a better understanding of the need to address gender based violence which has become very common amongst most homes. Children, especially girls are now free to even report cases of rape which they previously did not report for fear of being reprimanded and also because it was regarded as taboo to discuss sexual issues with parents. A fifteen year old girl in the programme who spoke on condition of anonymity said that she was in a sexual relationship but has since stopped it following the lessons she received from the programme on dangers of early sexual debut such as cervical cancer and early pregnancies which can lead to obstetric fistula.