By Zayamu Hassan
In order to give proper attention and resolve all challenges affecting adolescents in the country, the Federal Government has created a dedicated budget line and a two-year costed plan for them.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this at a media briefing to mark the year 2022 National/International Adolescent Health Week, in Abuja, said that the federal government is making efforts to ensure that the National Adolescent Health Policy is domesticated at the state level.
According to him, the federal government has also designed prioritized activities for the benefit of the adolescents for implementation in 2022.
He, therefore, called for support from all stakeholders to ensure that the policy is domesticated at all levels of governance in the country.
“At the subnational levels, the National adolescent health policy is being domesticated, frontline health workers’ capacities are being built and strengthened in collaboration with our partners WHO, UNICEF, Lafiya project to mention but a few.
“We are therefore advocating and making all efforts to strengthen effective coordination of adolescent health program nationwide,” he said.
The Minister, therefore, urge all partners to replicate the same structure in their respective states to ensure continuous delivery of essential gender-responsive services and to mitigate barriers faced by adolescents and young people in accessing services.
He explained that “to make progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Nigeria recognises the need to keep adolescents at the centre of all programmes that is centred around their health and development in line with the vision that “no adolescent or young person is left behind”.
“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 expressed the determination of the federal government to ensure access to quality health to Nigerians, particularly the adolescent and young people.
According to him: “Adolescent constitute significant proportions (22%) of the populations of Nigeria. Progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage requires keeping the adolescents healthy by appropriate investment and effective coordination.
“The National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2018) shows that 19 per cent of teenage girls are mothers and pregnant with their first child, 32 per cent do not attend ANC and 66 per cent 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.”