The South Asia Regional and Youth Forum spanning over three days from 23rd-25th November ‘21, was an affirmation of the commitment by the IPPF South Asia Office and its Member Associations (MA) to serve vulnerable communities despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to economies, societies, and life.
Seven key takeaways came out of the event that was organized with and for young people.
- Health needs and legal rights of the trans-gender community need to be heard and included in the government policies, and IPPF can play a supportive role in this. One way forward could be to create a platform where one can raise their voice or seek to mobilize community awareness for the SRH rights of the trans-gender community and have trans specified clinics to reach and provide services to all members in the trans community. LGBTQ+ population is more prone to mental health issues and there is a need to intensify measures to help them out so that they can lead a normal life.
- For the community of people living with disabilities, need to have accessibility to infrastructure, e.g., digital and web, through basic changes such as having communication designed in a way that considers the needs of people with disabilities. There is a need for a perfect terminology of sign language for disabled people to handle SRHR issues.
- For women living with HIV, the most important support that IPPF can provide is to give them space to speak, express fears, inhibitions and have access to counselling and uninterrupted SRH services.
- For the sex workers community, most critical need is to have access to family planning and SRH services without any fear of stigma and discrimination.
- Concrete steps need to be taken to make SRHR services more affirmative and accessible but to begin with, there is need to have their own health care spaces, an inclusive gender category that people can access without getting misgendered.
- There is a need for investing in people’s agency and to provide them with opportunities in a safe and secure environment, which also calls for the capacity building and sensitization of service providers