The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) in partnership with Development Communications (Devcoms) has introduced life planning for youths and adolescents in Nigeria to enable them make informed decisions on their reproductive health.
The advocacy group unveiled this at a one-day sensitisation and orientation workshop on Life Planning for Adolescents and Youths (LPAY) organised for journalists in Lagos.
NURHI described life planning as fundamental in shaping lives and hopefully the future of young persons to achieve their full potentials in life.
According to United Nations definition, youths are persons between ages 15 and 24 years, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) defines adolescents as young people between ages 10 and 19 years.
“For these ages of persons, life planning is very important. They need to plan their lives so that they can achieve their dreams and reach their maximum potentials”, said Youth Programme Officer NURHI, Miss Blessme Ajani.
She added that LPAY is a programme designed to enable young people become informed and actively make responsible and healthy choices in matters related to their reproductive health.
Ajani said: “When we talk about life planning, it has to do with youths getting access to information they need in their reproductive health life, including accessing services. They also need life skills to achieve their potentials.
“55 per cent of Nigerian population is under 20 years of age while that of adolescents engaging in unprotected sex is 56 per cent female and 48 per cent male.
“So, young people should have access to contraceptive services even at age 15. Service without consent age should be brought down to 15. Girls less than age 18 are having sex.”
While she listed various barriers such as myths and misconceptions common to life planning for adolescents and youths, Ajani urged journalists to educate the public on the reasons to do away with old traditional beliefs.