The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has reiterated the government’s commitement to improve adolescents’ health, saying: “the Federal Government remains resolute to ensure access to quality health to Nigerians, particularly the adolescent and young people”.
Ehanire stated this on Monday, March 21, 2022, at a press briefing in Abuja to commemorate this year’s International Adolescent Health Week (IAHW).
TheFact Nigeria observed that, even though the Minister said there had been improvement in Adolescent Health in the country, there was no statistical record to monitor such progress.
Delivering his keynote address, Ehanire said: “During the commemoration of the IAHW last year 2021, I can remember informing stakeholders of Government’s commitment towards ensuring the welfare of adolescents in Nigeria.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to inform you that we have made modest progress, National Adolescent Health and development TWG has been repositioned and inaugurated for better performance with membership drawn from relevant stakeholders including Young People led Organizations.
“In addition, we created a budget line at national levels for adolescents, developed a two-year National costed workplan and prioritized activities for implementation in 2022.
“At the subnational levels, the National adolescent health policy is being domesticated, frontline healthworkers’ capacities are being built and strengthened in collaboration with our partners WHO, UNICEF, Lafiya project to mention but a few”, he said.
The Minister explained that, since 2018,
IAHW was celebrated yearly on the third week in March and it is aimed at celebrating young people with the goal of working collectively towards improving the health and well-being of adolescents across the world.
He noted that Adolescents constitute 22% of Nigeria’s population, adding that, progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) required keeping the adolescents healthy by appropriate investment and effective coordination.
Referring to some worrisome statistics with regards health of adolescents in the country, the Health Czar said: “The National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2018) shows that 19% of teenage girls are mothers and pregnant with their first child, 32% do not attend ANC and 66% delivered without supervision by skilled birth attendants and HIV prevalence of 1.9 million which has high gender disparity among young people.
“This is compounded with the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on our already fragile health system”, Ehanire explained.
Stressing the government’s stand, going forward, the Health Boss stated:
“To ensure ‘no adolescent or young person is left behind’, the Ministry will continue to collaborate with all partners and stakeholders at all levels to support specific actions that effectively respond to the needs of different categories of adolescents and young people who are at various levels of vulnerabilities”, he said.
In his remarks, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora noted that, if any Nation was to grow and thrive, every attempt must be made to ensure the Adolescents who are the soul of its population are adequately cared for.
Speaking further, he said: “As we mark this national and international adolescent week, let us not forget to discuss deeply on the need to provide adolescents with comprehensive, appropriate confidential and reliable quality services.
“There is also a huge need for policy implementation that uses adolescent self-reported data to help assess the quality of preventive care provided to youth.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Muloumbo, in his goodwill message, called on all stakeholders, to revisit their commitments to improving adolescent health and wellbeing.
Stressing that, “As the consequences of ill health in adolescence continue into adulthood, it becomes challenging for the adolescent to make any transition seamlessly”.
The theme for this year’s IAHW is, “Building a Case for the Visibility of Adolescents in Nigeria while Transitioning from a Pre-pandemic to a Life Shaped by Pandemic”.