The mission of providing easy access to accurate sexual and reproductive health information as well as quality education and affordable healthcare services to everybody towards leading healthy lives is a priority for the European Union (EU) worldwide and in the Philippines.
This was the message delivered by EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron during his visit at the Community and Family Services International (CFSI) center in Pasay City on Wednesday, Sept. 29, where he interacted with adolescents and youths in an awareness-raising session on HIV and AIDS.
CFSI is a Philippine-based international humanitarian group and a partner of EU in supporting the implementation of universal access to sexual reproductive health (SRH) project across the country.
The session focused on explaining the causes, effects and ways to manage the spread of HIV to participants aged 14 to 17, the age group reportedly most at risk from the disease in Pasay City.
Véron emphasized that “working with youth, peer educators and community mobilizers is a crucial way of reaching the youth” as he praised the SRH approach.
The awareness session, the EU diplomat added, “is a key opportunity for you to be better informed and to be real actors of change in your communities, in order to curb the increase of HIV/AIDS infection, in particular among youth in the Philippines.”
The SRH project aims to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people aged 10 to 24 in Pasay City and is being implemented by CFSI in partnership with Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World).
CFSI Executive Director Steven Muncy reaffirmed CFSI’s continuing commitment to promoting the health and well-being of young people in Pasay City which it has been doing for nearly two decades.
“We remain committed to providing support to adolescents and youth as well as their families, especially services that are not easily accessible in the time of the pandemic,” Muncy said.
During his visit, Véron also met with CFSI’s Youth Community Mobilizers, the volunteers who reach out to their fellow young people to promote health-seeking behavior and refer them to SRH professionals as needed. Young people and their families can access SRH services at the CFSI Clinic in Pasay.
Youth volunteer Jenny Rose Torzar said she values the chance of serving her fellow youth through the SRH project while other mobilizers highlighted the peer-to-peer approach that fosters a safe space for young people without discrimination.
According to the EU, the SRH project will continue to provide rights-based and needs-driven SRH information as well as services that would enable young people to avoid the dangers of unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and gender-based violence. The project will be implemented in Pasay City until November 2023.