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Nigerian Youths voice out on Sexual & Reproductive Health

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Arising from the Youth Pre-conference of 3rd Nigeria Family Planning Conference held at Reiz Continental Hotel Abuja on 25th of November 2014, Young Nigerian delegates agreed the following;

Acknowledging that In Nigeria, we face challenges in the implementation of our policies and programs on FP. There are many different groups from diverse ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic status with diverse cultures and religions. For example, adolescent girls in the North-East, their socio-economic status have strong influence in their reproductive health and rights and they are less likely to complete their education and have fewer children than adolescent girls in the South- West.

For Nigeria to address population issues, combat maternal deaths  and  give young people a good,  healthy start on their lives, their  right to reproductive health and family  planning information and  services must be promoted, and changes in policies and regulations encouraged. Investments in young people’s reproductive health can empower young people to stay healthy and take advantage of education and employment opportunities throughout their lives.

We, Nigerian youth, believe that:

All people, including young people have the right to make informed choices about their sexual health, including the number, timing, and spacing of their children and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

We, Nigerian youth, believe that:

Everyone regardless of age or marital status should have access to sexual and reproductive health services, which includes access to safe, effective, affordable, and youth  friendly services of their choice, including; contraception, pre natal care, obstetric care, safe and legal abortion services, and post abortion care.

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We, Nigerian youth, believe that:

Family Planning is an important issue and therefore young people must be meaningfully involved as leaders in all strategies

We the youth from Nigeria, urge the FG and State Government of Nigeria to take the following actions:

  1. Ensure free Family Planning commodities and services
  1. Ensure meaningful youth participation in the planning, design and implementation of program and policies especially those relevant to family planning.
  1. Invest in rights and evidenced based comprehensive sexuality and reproductive health services, including access to contraception, to support young people’s ability to make informed, responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
  1. Scale up access to comprehensive and youth friendly health information and services for young people including marginalized and most at risk group such as persons with disabilities, people in rural areas and the urban poor through a rights based approach regardless of sex, age, HIV status or sexual orientation
  1. Scale up or integrate a skills based, age appropriate, gender sensitive and quality comprehensive sexuality education for both in and out of school youth, and mobilize support among community gatekeepers (Parents, religious and traditional leaders).
  1. Governments need to increase investments into research data to:
  • Inform design and implementation of rights based health interventions for young people, in particular, marginalized groups,
  • Ensure appropriate allocation of the health budget, especially to adolescent and youth SRH programs
  1. Strengthen male involvement as advocates, clients and partners on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including in the promotion of gender equity and safeguarding sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls within communities.
  1. Governments should revise policies and laws that criminalize safe abortion services and implement programs that ensure young women’s access to safe and comprehensive abortion care.
  1. Ensure young people’s universal access to high quality comprehensive SRH services through the provision of but not limited
  • Modern FP methods including condoms and emergency contraceptives,
  • Maternal health services
  • Cervical and breast cancer screening
  1. Government must uphold and protect young peoples’ sexual and reproductive health rights as human rights within national laws, policies and programs
  1. Increase mobilization and participation of communities-especially , young people, women, religious leaders and traditional leaders in health policies and programs
  1. Formulate, review and adapt laws and policies that accelerate implementation of SRH services for all young people in line with Maputo Plan of action and the African Youth Charter.
  1. Remove all barriers that hinder young people’s universal access to comprehensive SRH information, services and commodities.
  2. Improve logistics of health and FP commodities especially to the rural areas.
  3. Government should ensure continuous training of service providers on youth friendly approaches for young people’s health and development
  4. Stakeholders in Family Planning must strengthen communication around family planning to include young people’s views and needs

In conclusion, our choices today will directly determine the wellbeing of people in Nigeria for generations to come. Young people’s rights must be acknowledged to ensure a just, peaceful and sustainable Nigeria.

Thank You.

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