Deputy Health Minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo on Monday led an advocacy march against illegal termination of pregnancy in Germiston, Gauteng.
The march aims to raise awareness amongst the young people about the importance of having access to sexual reproductive health services.
Abortion in South Africa is legal and free during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, after this period has passed – it can only be done under certain conditions.
“The objective is to improve sexual reproductive health, especially amongst the 15 to 20 year olds, adolescent girls and young women,” said Dhlomo.
He said the youth is avoiding to use public health services because of the recorded poor attitude of health care workers.
According to Dhlomo, nurses are rude, judgmental and patients do not trust them to keep their information confidential.
In response to this, he said the government has introduced youth friendly services as part of efforts to improve access to health services for young people.
“We say to them [youth] that we are providing in some facilities already, safe environment through what we are creating as ‘youth zones’. Where there is at least one nurse trained to be friendly, not judgmental, supportive to the young people.”
The trained nurses will also give the youth extensive information about sexual reproductive health.
Taking down illegal abortion posters
They took to the streets of Germiston to remove illegal abortion posters.
Dhlomo said the municipalities should be aware of the posters and make sure they are removed.
“When we take them down, people ask why are we taking them down because they thought that they are legal.”
He said the government are working with the police to arrest anyone who conducts illegal abortion. He said they have already arrested some people who provide illegal abortion services.
He also called for the authorities to successfully prosecute people who are found conducting backstreet abortion.