Govts Tasked Over Protection of Adolescent, Young People’s Sexual Reproduction

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan 

Government at all levels have been urged to make policies and enforce laws that would protect vulnerable Adolescent and Young People (AYPs) in their sexual and reproductive health and right.

Participants at a stakeholders roundtable meeting with the theme, “Building Movements to Sustain Sexual and Reproductive Health and Right”, held in Ibadan, said the step was necessary to safeguard sexual and reproductive health and right of adolescent and young people.

A Program Officer with HACEY Health Initiative, Tomilola Akinpelu, who was the lead presenter, in her contributions, said Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) issues posed significant challenge for vulnerable adolescents and young people (AYPs) in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

The event had in attendance government officials from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ministry of Education, Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), and Non-governmental Organisation (NGOs), among others.

Akinpelu said two-third of illnesses among women of reproductive age in the region are attributed to SRH problems, stating that a staggering 4.3 billion people lack essential SRH services, with over 200 million women in developing countries lacking access to modern contraception.

According to her, “Vulnerable AYPs in our project communities due to the lack of access to essential sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and resources are predisposed to challenges such as unintended pregnancies, inadequate antenatal care, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and cervical cancer.

” Emerging civil society organizations (CSOs) addressing these needs also often lack the necessary tools and skills to pass the information and resource on SRHR to the target audience effectively.

“Early pregnancies among adolescents, high prevalence of HIV infections, and

vulnerability to other SRH issues underscore the urgent need for intervention. Limited access to SRH information in Nigeria puts AYPs at risk, exposing them to various SRH challenges that threaten their well-being.”

She disclosed that the SRHR Impact Plus Project aimed to make a meaningful impact by addressing the critical challenges faced by vulnerable adolescents and young people (AYPs) in Nigeria, adding that it also intended to empower youth-led Civil Society

Organisations (CSOs) with essential tools and skills and amplify the efforts of SRHR Champions’ SRHR interventions.

“This is a stakeholders round table meeting, we bring together those who we hope to collaborate and partner with us on this project, it is an SRHR project and we aim to empower 80 per cent  adolescent and young person in five states across Nigeria.

“At the end of this project, we believe youths will have right based and inclusive information, the issue is that most of the youths have limited access to SRHR information, resources and services, so we hope they will have increase access to right based and inclusive information on sexual reproductive health and right at the end of this project.

“We brought some of the stakeholders together here because in the course of the project, we are still going to have a media lab for CSOs, so that they can move it from one place to the other and create media content to push information for adolescent and young people”, Akinpelu said.

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