The Executive Director of Novel Association for youth advocacy (NAYA), Mrs. Tosin Apiriola Ajayi has called on Media Practitioners to promote the campaign for the implementation of policy documents addressing Adolescent and Youth-Friendly Health Services (AYFHS) by disseminate information and create awareness on issues and challenges related to youth health in Kwara State.
Mrs. Ajayi made the call on Monday at the Media Dialogue Session on Promoting the Integration of Adolescents and youth Friendly Health Services (AYFHS) in Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) in Nigeria, held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Ilorin.
Mrs. Ajayi who is also the Kwara State Executive Director of Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV) noted that Civil Society Organisation and other stakeholders including the Media, religious/traditional leaders as well as development partners need to kick start and support rapid advocacy drive on the supply and integration of AYFHS into PHCs in Kwara State to meet the health needs of young people in a conducive and friendly environment.
“We want you to help us amplify our voices so that our advocacy efforts yield meaningful result. The commitment of Journalists present here today is required in the process of achieving our objective and we are optimistic that together we shall achieve youth friendly health services in Kwara State”, she said.
Speaking further, Mrs. Ajayi lamented on poor budget line for adolescent health services in the country, saying many state governments in the country have poor annual budget provision for adolescent health.
She however appealed to governments at all levels to create adequate budget line for adolescent youth friendly health services in the country.
Mrs. Ajayi said that findings had revealed substance abuse (Codeine, tramadol, weed etc), teenage pregnancy, female genital mutilation, unsafe abortion, under-nutrition, mental health developmental challenges such as inadequate educational opportunities and rising level of underemployment and unemployment among youth in the state.
She, therefore, called on Federal and Kwara state governments to invest appropriately in the health and development of their young people, saying that they are the future.
“These health services must have the standards and qualities that young people seek. However, available services are grossly inadequate.
“Information gathered from the state primary health care development agency (SPHCDA) in October 2019 at the advocacy strategy workshop for the integration of adolescent and youth friendly health services (AYFHS) in Kwara state revealed that adolescent and youth specific healthcare services are not available at the PHCs across the state, while the existing AYFHS in five secondary facilities are not well equipped to function maximally”, she said.
Mrs. Ajayi, who said that such health care services for the youth must be equitable, accessible, acceptable, appropriate and effective, added that such is the indicators of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“This group of young people is critical workforce for the growth and development of the state and as such, there is need to cater for their needs in terms of adequate and appropriate healthcare services, recreational and sporting facilities, etc”, she said.
Responding, the State Chairman of NUJ, Mall. Umar Abdulwahab promised the support of the Journalists in Kwara State towards the success of the programme in the state.
The workshop was a collaboration between the WOYODEV and the Novel Association for Youth Advocacy in Nigeria (NAYA), in partnership with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara state.