Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A nongovernmental organisation, Women Friendly Initiative (WFI) has urged the federal government to integrate Adolescent Youth Friendly Services in Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities across the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of WFI, Dr. Francis Eremutha stated this in Ilorin, Kwara State capital during the media dialogue session on promoting the integration of adolescents and youth friendly health services in PHCs in Nigeria.
Eremutha, who was represented by a member of WFI, Rosemary Adejoh said the interaction would assist young people to have access to quality healthcare services.
He said, “With over 80 per cent of healthcare facilities in Nigeria being PHCs, it was important adolescent and youth friendly health services were integrated into their routine services.
“This is key to increasing accessibility for young persons between 10-24 years. This age bracket constitutes one third of the total population in Nigeria.
“We are currently partnering with members of a coalition of youth-serving organisation, Novel Association for Youth Advocacy (NAYA) among others to advocate for the implementation of the national guidelines for promoting access of young people to adolescent and youth friendly health services in PHCs in Nigeria.”
Eremutha who later paid a visit to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Raji Rasaq, said “The 193 PHCs in Kwara State do not have adolescent and youth specific healthcare services.
“Thus, a high proportion of young people in the state lack access to information, care and support to optimise their health and development potentials and called on the state government to address the issue.”
The Executive Director, Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV), Mrs Tosin Apiriola Ajayi canvassed for appropriate investment in the health and development of young people in a bid to prepare them for future challenges.
She added that it was imperative for both federal and Kwara State governments to provide health services to adolescent and other young people in the country.
She noted that young people constitute one third of the nation’s population and called for more actions to address their needs.
She harped on integration of adolescent and youth friendly health services, while also cautioning against discrimination of young people who try to access healthcare like adults.
Stressing the importance of the media in the area of advocacy, she said the efforts of the group could only be fruitful when the latter collaborates with it.