Providing Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights for ALL
Established in 1972, Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) is a non-profit and non-governmental organization and it is a member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). PPAZ envisions a society in which all people in Zambia enjoy equal sexual and reproductive health and rights and have equal access to quality and affordable sexual and reproductive health Information and services. PPAZ’s mission is to advocate for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, men, young people, especially the vulnerable, and empowers them to make free and informed reproductive health choices.
PPAZ dedicates itself to the provision of high-quality and sustainable youth-focused sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, HIV counselling and testing, treatment of STIs, antenatal and post-natal care, emergency contraceptives, laboratory tests, and cervical cancer screening.
PPAZ is specialized in expanding access and quality of family planning and reproductive health services at the community and district levels through its focus of bringing services closer to communities, while improving the quality of care at health facilities. PPAZ has a strong presence in all the provinces of Zambia through its 40 volunteer branches, four Reproductive Health Centers (Choma, Kitwe, Livingstone and Lusaka), and three project offices (Lusaka, Ndola and Samfya). Through this network, PPAZ counts on full time staff including service providers, part-time Health Care Staff, volunteer community-based health workers, and youth peer educators, who promote SRHR at the community, facility, and national levels.
PPAZ takes pride in its wide volunteer base for the projects and initiatives anchored on exploiting locally available resources. Through this diverse resource, PPAZ has made significant progress in advancing Sexual Reproductive Health Rights – SRHR. This progress however, have not been adequate to warrant Universal Health Coverage, health in general and wellbeing of the majority of underserved populations especially young people due to wide ranging factors such as the shift in political, socio and economic landscape, ever-shrinking donor space and inadequate budgets the are being faced globally. PPAZ as such has prioritized resource mobilization and financing for SRHR, Family Planning, HIV/AIDS to counter such challenges and ensured reproductive Health and Rights for all are guaranteed.
Volunteer Dedication & Passion: The tale of PPAZ at Zambia’s first ever Civil Society Organization Fair
It’s a cold windy morning at Zambia’s largest shopping mall and the entire venue is a hive of activity. A large tent sits in the middle of the car park, a truck loaded high with sound equipment attempts to reverse into a tight parking space whilst ambulances and large 4×4’s branded with the logos of various NGO’s and Aid Funders arrive at the mall’s parking lot in droves. Right in the midst of all this confusion are 4 young people dressed in branded Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) T-shirts. Whilst setting up a small tent, they distribute brochures with information on family planning, contraceptives and STI’s. With all the frantic activity taking place around them, This small band of young people looks completely out of place at this event.
The event in question is Zambia’s first ever Civil Society Organization (CSO) Fair. Where CSO’s from different sectors exhibits their programs and services. The event is organized by the NGO LatKings and has Zambia’s Minister of Health as well as the Lusaka Mayor in attendance.
The Makeni Mall is known as place where young people go to meet their friends and hangout on a Saturday. It is where the young people go to be seen and act cool. These young people are usually dressed in the latest fashion and have loud conversations about popular music, movies, celebrities or the best-looking girls or boys at their school. The last thing you would expect here is to see young people distribute condoms or let alone overhear them talking about breast cancer screening. But that is exactly what the PPAZ t-shirt wearing young people are doing. They speak with confidence and are well versed on issues such as family planning, contraceptives and early child marriages. To get to a point where these young volunteers are knowledgeable on numerous SRHR issues, a lot of time and resources has been invested in them by PPAZ.
PPAZ is committed to ensuring young people receive information and utilise SRHR services. Twice every week on Wednesdays and Saturday’s young people meet at the Association’s Lusaka clinic to learn about life skills, human rights, and sexual and reproductive health. Organized in different age groups to access appropriate information relevant to each age group, they use participatory methods to ensure learner centred approaches. These include the use of drama, debates, quiz, question and answer sessions, group discussions, games and one-to-one discussions. Trained facilitators who are themselves young people age 15 to 24 years old, use different manuals including the Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum and the Life Skills manual for in and out of school youth to bring about topics relevant to the groups they are meeting on the particular day. To ensure that young people are not only acquiring information and knowledge about their reproductive health, those young people that wish to access SRH and HIV services are referred to the clinic for professional medical care.
These interventions have produced a cadre of young PPAZ volunteers that are knowledgeable, resilient, dedicated and passionate about transforming the SRHR landscape in Zambia.