20 June 2019

Malawi: Stakeholders Failing to Address Youth Drug Abuse in Ku

Kasungu — The fight against drug abuse among the youth is failing to bear fruits in Kasungu due to failure by partners to address real issues associated with the malpractice.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) recently, Kasungu Youth Friendly Health Coordinator (YFHC) at Kasungu District Hospital, Chris Mwambene said little is being done to curb drug and substance abuse among the youth in the district.

"A lot of youth engage in drug and substance abuse in the district and efforts are there to control the situation, but the stakeholders in youth affairs do not tackle what we think are the real issues to be addressed.

"It is proving to be difficult to help the youth resist such bad behaviour," said Mwambene.

He, however, said the district is still doing a lot to address problems associated with drug abuse.

"With the little support that the youth programmes receive from Kasungu District Health Office (DHO), we are able to train peer educators to teach and give information to the youth on the dangers of drug and substance abuse right in their communities," he said.

He added that they have established clubs on Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS) at the district hospital and in all health centres where members meet every weekend to discuss issues concerning drug and substance abuse and health related issues among others.

Commenting on the issue, Good Health Youth Organization (GHYO) Director, Gentry Kamanga said GHYO promotes young people to be included in decision-making structures to curb drug abuse.

"We discourage young people from engaging in drug and substance abuse by making sure they are included in the decision-making positions at community and district level.

"So far, young people have been elected as councilors in the just ended tripartite elections.

"We hope they will push for youth friendly programs to reduce usage and abuse of drugs amongst themselves," said Kamanga.

A parent and teacher at Manyani Community Day Secondary School (CDSS), Oswell Sinyo concurred with Mwambene, saying youth organizations need to do more in order to combat drug use and abuse among the youth.

"I have witnessed a lot of youth falling victim to drug abuse in my area and occasionally, I have seen youth organizations carrying out activities to fight the evil. However, I have observed that they are not doing enough.

"If this remains the case, I am afraid we are going to lose a lot of young people to the effects of drug abuse," he said.

It is believed the youth who engage in drug abuse have often times been arrested and sent to juvenile detentions for law breaking including deviance, sexual behaviour and theft.

In some instances, drug and substance abuse lead to serious illnesses and early death.

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