The Federal Government has inaugurated a five-year adolescent health and development policy starting from 2021 to 2025.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at the opening of the 1st African and 2nd Nigeria conference on adolescent health and development in Abuja.
According to the minister, the policy is to make sure that the system in Nigeria is adequately responsive to adolescent and young people’s health.
The minister, who was represented by Director of Family Health in the ministry, Dr. Salma Anas-kolo, said the policy would deliver quality and gender sensitisation.
He noted that the theme, “Fulfilling Promise, Optimising Investment in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing in Africa” would make proper investment in the health and wellbeing of adolescent and young people easier.
He said the country had reviewed the National Policy on Adolescent Development and Health and translated it into an implementation plan, monitoring and evaluation framework.
“The four policies are National Adolescent Health and Development Policy 2021 to 2025, National Adolescent and Young People’s Health and Development Implementation Plan 2021 to 2025. Others are National Adolescent and Young People’s Health and Development Monitoring and Evaluation Framework 2021 to 2025,’’ he said.
Ehanire also stated that the policy would provide health service equipment that would effectively meet the preventive, curative and rehabilitative health needs of young people.
According to him, the implementation plan has 12 thematic areas which address the key priority focus in the policy.
He said that the focus for interventions and programmes were mental health, violence and injury, sexual and reproductive health and rights, nutrition and physical activity, non-communicable diseases, disabilities, communicable diseases, oral health and system performance, among others.
The minister noted that the policy would also focus on improving the health of adolescent and young persons.
According to him, the conference is an opportunity for stakeholders working in adolescent space, policy makers and young people to appraise progress made with fulfilling promises related to adolescent and young people.
He said that the present administration believed that investment in the health of youths was key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and demographic dividends.
A young adolescent, Isabel Anani, said adolescent stage was characterised by dynamic brain development, in which interaction with the social environment shapes the capabilities they take forward into adulthood.
According to the 13 years old girl, it is during adolescence, a child acquires the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and economic resources that are the foundation for later life, health and wellbeing.
Anani said that Africa had the problem of limited resources and technical capabilities compared to its counterparts in other continents like Europe, America and even Asia.
“An average adolescent in Africa is more vulnerable due to unprecedented forces like poverty, illnesses, malnutrition, poor health care, insecurity and illiteracy to mention but a few,” she said.
Anani called on government to establish a system for the training, mentoring and participation of youth health advocates with a potential to transform traditional models of health care delivery and create an adolescent responsive health system.
The Emir of Shonga, Kwara State, Dr Haliru Yahaya, promised that the community would help the country achieve the adolescent goals.