Photo: A cross-section of participants during the adolescent and youth health development conference.
A Non-Governmental Organisation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) – Girls Act Program Coordinator, has urged Government and stakeholders to fulfill their earlier promises made towards increasing investment in youths and adolescent health needs in the country.
The AHF -Girls Act Program Coordinator is one of the identified adolescents intervention that drives at providing adolescents optimal health outcomes with girls themselves at the driver seat.
Miss Patience Asher, the organization’s Coordinator, made the call on Saturday in Abuja on the sidelines of the First African and Second Nigerian Conference on Adolescent and Youth Health Development in Abuja.
Asher said the programme with the theme: `Fulfilling Promises’ was aimed at reminding stakeholders to fulfil promises made towards investing more in adolescent reproductive health needs.
“Over the years, governments, key stakeholders as well as bilateral and multilateral partners have made promises to ensure that the health needs of adolescents are met.
“This event was designed to call their attention to fulfil promises made, in such a way that they increase investment because we are less than ten years towards the global goal.
According to her, some of the promises from the context of health, specifically HIV, were geared towards ensuring zero new infection, zero death, as well as zero stigma and discrimination against young people.
Others include; family health and family planning, ensuring every adolescent girl that is of age is able to access reproductive health services that best fits their needs,’’ Asher added.
Mr Aron Sunday, National Coordinator, Association of Positive Youths Living with HIV in Nigeria, commended the federal government for launching the National Policy for Adolescents and Young People’s Health.
Sunday said creating an enabling environment and the political will from government and stakeholders, would enable adolescents and youths to access their health needs, thereby empowering them to achieve their potentials.
“We have seen quite some level of commitment both from the government themselves and traditional rulers towards ensuring that whatever comes out of the conference would be worked upon.
“However, it will not be fair on us that at this point we are unable to ensure every adolescent reach and maximise their potentials,’’ he said.
The National Coordinator stressed that the event also provided a platform for learning, partnership and collaboration among adolescents and youths across the states of the African Region.
A participant and youth Loveet Awodi of the Girls Act Abuja Chapter, applauded the organisers of the conference while appealing to government to implement policies that concerned adolescents and youth.
“The theme of the programme is fulfilling promises, hence different organisations have come together to solicit the support of government, not just to make promises or increase budget but to implement them.
“We want them to invest more by providing free sanitary pads to young girls in schools, creating a safe space for dialogue on reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, menstrual hygiene practices among others.
Countries who participated virtually at the African regional conference, included Liberia, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, as well as international partners, from the United States and Germany, among others.