NGO Advocates Access to Health Care and Social Services For Adolescents
Written by tobi adejare on October 9, 2019
REPORT BY JULIE EKONG
Assuring adolescent girls access to health and critical social services will move Nigeria closer to achieving major targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
These will promote social inclusiveness and reduce Maternal Mortality including unplanned abortion among the adolescent girls and young women.
The Deputy Project Director of Adolescents 360, SFH, Mr Fifi Ogbondeminu stated this at the National Conference on Inclusivity, Equity and Diversity in University Education in Lagos.
According to him, the SFH, A360 began to break down barriers of some critical social and health services for adolescent girls aged 15 – 19 years by creating safe spaces in public health facilities where they can achieve their dreams.
This is by acquiring life and vocational Skills as well as making informed choices to create the future they want.
“” A 360 co- designed the 9ja girls programme is funded by the Children Investment Fund Foundation, CIFF, and the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation, BMGF. “”
Mr Ogbondeminu says that the starting point is the review and implementation of the National Policy on Integrating Youth Friendly Services into the existing Primary Healthcare Centers.
The Regional Project Coordinator of the A360 project, Mrs Adebusola Odulaja, says that one of the challenges of the programmes is that girls complain of long distances to the facilities adding that Adolescents are usually deprived of access to services.
“” With maternal mortality ratio at 546 deaths per 100,000 live births ( amounting to 40,000 pregnancy related deaths annually). Nigeria accounts for 14% of the global burden of materials death, 95 of which are caused by preventable conditions, including unsafe abortion. Each year, it is estimated that between 610,000 and 1,2 million abortions are procured by women aged 15 – 44 years.
Experts say, that if all females who need family planning had access, 44 percent of all maternal deaths in Nigeria will be averted.””
Mrs Odulaja expressed dismay that facility security personnel turn girls back, thereby denying them access.
She explained that the Federal and State governments were advised to scale up safe space for adolescent girls to more primary health care facilities.
Mrs Odulaja noted that equivalent programme for married adolescent girls in predominantly Muslim North and focus on adolescent girls within the same age bracket of 15 – 19 years.