Girls Act, Abuja Chapter of the AIDs HealthCare Foundation, on Saturday called on government and stakeholders to invest more on youths and adolescent health needs in the country.
Miss Patience Asher, Coordinator Girls Act, Abuja Chapter, made the call at the side-line of the First African and Second Nigerian Conference on Adolescent and Youth Health Development in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AHF Girls Act is one of the identified adolescents intervention that drives at providing adolescents optimal health outcomes with girls themselves at the driver seat.
Speaking on, Asher said the programme with the theme: “fulfilling Promises” was aimed at reminding stakeholders to fulfill promises made by 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 fulfill promises made in such a way that they increase investment because we are less than ten years towards the global goal,” she said.
According to her, some of the promises from the context of health, specifically HIV, were 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 Aaron 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 that creating an enabling environment and the political will from government and stakeholders would enable adolescents and youths access their health needs thereby empowering them to achieve their potentials.
“We have seen quite some level of commitment both from the government 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 said the event also provided a platform for learning, partnership and collaboration among adolescents and youths across states of the African Region.
A participant, Loveet Awodi, Girls Act Abuja Chapter, applauded the organisers of the conference while appealing to government to implement policies that concern 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,” Awodi said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that countries that 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. (NAN)