Meet Kelvin: Youth representative from Zimbabwe
15 June 2017
Kelvin is one of three youth advocates who attended the 70th World Health Assembly, and a young man living with HIV from Zimbabwe. He shares his thoughts on discrimination against young people in healthcare settings.
Attending the World Health Assembly was one of the most important events that ever happened in my life as an activist and advocate for young people living with HIV and disabilities.
Regardless if one lives in a high resourced country or a low, various forms of discrimination persist, disproportionately affecting marginalized populations, who are stigmatized, criminalized and otherwise mistreated simply because of who they are, what they do, or their health status.
The likelihood of being discriminated against in healthcare settings is often determined by one’s race, socioeconomic status, age, sex, gender, mental health condition, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, HIV or other health status, being a person with disabilities, including with psychosocial disabilities or selling sex, using drugs, interwoven together.
For example, young people can be discriminated because of disability and judged because of their stature physically and mentally but I believe people no matter where you come from and what race you are from, we are all equal and deserve the same respect.
Let young people take risks and be accountable to their programmes.
Medical practitioners also deserve to be educated on how people or clients should be treated and this should be put in their ethics codes. Evidence has shown that the interventions that worked the best were those that were based on a strong human rights approach, and that quality health care has to be provided in a timely manner without discrimination. These groups of people must therefore be engaged and empowered.
I think we should always engage young people with disabilities, and key populations in our planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation so that we know how to improve and where we are lacking in service provision.
Funding partners need to learn to respect and trust youth-led organizations so that they can build capacity in financial management, monitoring and evaluation.
Ultimately, let young people take risks and be accountable to their programmes.