By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
The Executive Director, Women Environment and Youths Development In Nigeria(WOYODEV) and Novel Association For Youths Advocacy In Nigeria(NAYA) Kwara State Chapter, Mrs. Tosin Ajayi has appealed to the state government to invest in health development of the youths as they are the future of state and country at large.
Ajayi made this appeal at media dialogue session on promoting the integration of Adolescent and youths friendly health services in Primary Health Care Centers (PHCs) in Ilorin on Monday.
According to her, “in Nigeria, young people between 10-24 years constitute one- third of the population.
However, for Kwara State, the Nigeria Population Commission (NPC) 2016 estimated the population of young people aged10-29 years to be 934,069.
“This group of young people is the critical workforce for the growth and development of state and such, there is need to cater for their needs in terms of adequate and appropriate healthcare services, recreational and sporting facilities, among others.
“Providing health services to adolescents and young people is the utmost importance, Nigeria and Kwara State government needs to invest appropriately in the health and development of its young people because they are the future,” she said.
According to her, “Information gathered from the state Primary Health care Development Agency (SPHCDA) in October 2019 at the advocacy strategy workshop for the integration of AYFHS in Kwara State revealed that adolescent and youths specific healthcare services are not available at the PHCs across the state.
She explained further that the existing AYFHS in five secondary facilities are not well equipped to function maximally.
He noted that, “Available information revealed lack of advocacy to the government by CSOs and other stakeholders to integrate the national guidelines on AYFHS 2013 into PHCs by the state since”.
She disclosed that substance use and abuse, teenage pregnancies, female genital mutilation, HIV and other STIs, unsafe abortion, undernutrition, rape and other reproductive health rights violation, mental health, developmental challenges like inadequate education opportunities, rising level of underemployment and unemployment have been identified as common adolescent health and development issues in Kwara State.
She identified that society Organisations and other stakeholders, media, religious/traditional leaders, development partners need to kick start and support rapid advocacy drive on the supply and integration of Adolescent Youths Friendly Health Services(AYFHS) in PHCs to meet the health needs of young people in a conducive and friendly environment was the reason for the meeting.
Earlier, Chief Executive Officer Women Friendly Initiative (WFI), Francis Eremutah disclosed that the NGO works in 15 states of Nigeria with passion for young people, mentally ill people, and women, among others.
Eremutah who was represented by, Mrs. Rose Adejoh said adolescents are great potential to contribute to national development.
She advocated for a dedicated nutrition budget for babies both at state and national levels.
She similarly called for sensitive and adequate training for healthcare givers who would handle adolescent issues.