27 Apr 2015

Youth involvement key to improving sexual health access

10:47 am on 27 April 2015

A Vanuatu health official says getting young people involved in the creation of youth centres has been key in improving access to sexual health services.

New Zealand is funding an initiative that aims to improve sexual and reproductive health for young people in Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Vanuatu's national public health reproductive family planning co-ordinator, Apisai Tokon, says the friendliness of the services offered to young people is key.

She says Vanuatu has seen success with clinics when young people have contributed to its set-up, for example youth friendly centres established alongside the NGO, Wan Smolbag.

"They have a well set-up compound there where the young people do other things, they have sewing classes, or they just play sports and then they go in.

"They don't want to be seen as obviously seeking health services, so that's what a youth friendly service should be, in line with young people's needs," Ms Tokon says.