NGO advocates friendly health policy for youths

Women Friendly Initiative (WFI), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has advocated for full implementation of national guidelines to promote access of young people to adolescent and youth-friendly health services.

The Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, Dr Francis Eremutha, made the call while briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Lafia to mark the International Youth Day (IYD) 2020, with the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action.”

The UN General Assembly in 1999 endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, Aug. 8- Aug. 12, 1998) that Aug. 12 be declared International Youth Day.

The theme of the 2020 IYD seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

It will also shed light on the need to enable the engagement of youth by making local, national and global institutions more inclusive for the purpose of strengthening youths’ capacity and relevance to achieve global action.

Eremutha said that the guidelines should be integrated into services provided by primary healthcare facilities in the country.

He added that access to health services played a significant role in young people’s health, hence the need for states to be more committed to the implementation of national guidelines to enhance the health of young people.

He noted that the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with WFI, launched two documents that seek to integrate adolescent and youth-friendly services into primary health facilities, as well as promote access to the services at the primary healthcare level.

He explained that WFI, in collaboration with the Novel Association for Youth Advocacy (NAYA), carried the same advocacy to relevant authorities in Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa states and Abuja.

He noted that primary healthcare facilities have the potential to increase accessibility of young people and urged government to give attention to that.

He added that “young people demonstrate poor health seeking behaviour due to a number of factors, including personal considerations, as well as health services and community-based barriers.

“As a result, there is the need to give critical attention to promoting access and utilisation of Adolescent and Youth-Friendly Health Services in primary healthcare settings.

“So, our advocacy visits to Kwara, Benue and Nasarawa states, including the FCT is to among other things, remind the affected states of the existence of national guidelines and the need for them to do the needful in the interest of the health of our young people.

“We are working with members of the Novel Association for Youth Advocacy in those states because of the strategic position they occupy as far as health issues affecting young people are concerned.”

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