Empowering Justice Service Providers for Improved Access to Justice to AGYW
In its endeavors to promote and guarantee the right to health in Tanzania, the Legal and Human Rights Centre has embarked in Shinyanga to conduct training to justice services providers counting magistrates, public prosecutors, state attorneys, prison officers and police officers.
The training compliments the Dreams Innovation Challenge Project aiming at increasing knowledge on gender issues, legal and health frameworks, how to protect the vulnerable AGYW from HIV and guarantee Quality HIV Health Services. The project is being implemented in Shinyanga Municipal Council and Kahama Township Council of Shinyanga region targeting Adolescent Girls and Young Women aged 15 to 24.
Adolescent Girls and Young Women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. In Tanzania, a total of approximately 25,000 AGYW become infected with HIV every year and are twice more likely to be living with HIV than men of the same age. Also, the group is more vulnerable to HIV because they are often subjected to a range of gender and age-based biases, discriminations, and violence, including sexual assault, forced marriage, and trafficking.
During the first day of training sessions in Shinyanga Municipal Council, the District AIDS Control Coordinator for the Municipality, Dr. Peter Malale reminded participants that Shinyanga region is among regions ranked higher in terms of HIV prevalence and Gender Based Violence (GBV), ranking sixth with 5.9 HIV prevalence ratios and first in GBV prevalence in Tanzania. He further mentioned the number of HIV infections in the Municipality to be 23,060 noting some challenges that hold back the initiatives to attain zero infections. Some of the challenges highlighted include inadequate awareness campaigns on HIV Health in the region, the reluctance of the people to test for HIV and attend medical care, the inadequacy of HIV Health Care Centers and Facilities, traditional and religious believes as well as the ethical dilemma.
In her part, the project coordinator Advocate Getrude Dyabene made a call to the justice service providers to consider challenges existing in legal framework and policies related to Gender and HIV Health Services during justice dispensing to avoid denial of justice to AGYW in particular.
Legal and Human Rights Centre implements the Dreams Innovation Challenge Project in Shinyanga in partnership with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).