An Independent Working Group (IWG) formed by HACEY Health Initiative has visited the Ondo State Ministry of Health to discuss ways to better youth’s access to sexual and reproductive health information.
HACEY Health Initiative, a leading development organisation focused on improving the health and productivity of the vulnerable and under-served population in Africa formed the group and tasked them with the role of advocating for improved access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services for young people.
A statement by the HACEY Health Initiative said the IWG is constituted of six students who have shown interest in increasing young people’s awareness of their sexual health and rights while also increasing access to youth-friendly SRH services.
The statement revealed that the visit which took place at the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Health and had in attendance the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Folukemi Aladenola; Director of Family, Health and Nutrition, Dr. Isaac Aladeniyi; other key officers of the ministry and HACEY’s Youth Amplify Project Manager, Kemi Omole.
She lauded the gesture, stating that young people’s sexual and reproductive health is an integral part of their total wellbeing and needs to be hugely prioritized.
Aladenola further explained that it was more pertinent to encourage the spread of the news of abstinence amongst young people as this will help young people preserve their dignity.
Omole affirmed that conservative society often frowns at sex education as it believes that this leads to increased sexual behaviour, “but that sexual health education enables young people to make informed decisions regarding their sexual health and rights.”
Omole said SRH rights and full availability of the associated human rights are at the core of young people’s transition into adulthood, pointing that it has a good likelihood of influencing their health and life outcomes, “and there is a mandatory need to support and uphold these rights to prevent the occurrence of its negative impact.”
“Young people need to be educated, healthy, free from STIs and HIV, and not exposed to violence, unintended pregnancy or unsafe abortion regardless of their identity. Young people are digital natives and mostly turn to social media as a platform for interaction, connection, and access to information; it is of utmost importance to leverage this platform as a tool for disseminating accurate SRH information,” Omole added.
“HACEY selected the students and tasked them with the roles of monitoring and giving recommendations on how to improve the quality of delivery of SRH services in the state, suggest policy recommendations to the State Ministry of Health from learnings from the project, provide feedback from young people who used the services, amongst other key role bothering on Youth and their access to sexual health information. The Youth Amplify project implemented by HACEY and funded by Amplify Change U.K is designed to increase awareness and uptake of SRH services and products amongst young people in tertiary institutions in Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo States, Nigeria. This project seeks to leverage the power of digital media especially social media to create awareness about SRH among young people as well as inform them on available SRH services in each state and how they can access such services.”
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