The Lagos State Ministry of Health and USAID Youth-Powered Ecosystem to Advance Urban Adolescent Health (YPE4AH), have partnered to ensure that out of school adolescents get access to quality reproductive healthcare services.
Speaking during a three-day advocacy plan development workshop for Lagos and Kano States Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Stakeholders at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, said the advocacy plan if properly implemented, will increase awareness and sustain accessibility of adolescents to reproductive health services in Lagos State.
Ogboye, represented by the Coordinator for Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health in the Ministry, Dr. Olawoyin Imoisili, explained that the programme was designed for out of school adolescents aged 15 to19 years to ensure accessibility to appropriate reproductive health, information and services in Lagos State so as to curb uncontrollable population explosion.
“It will also ensure that the youths get training on leadership, life skills and livelihoods that will empower them economically in order for them to contribute their quota to the development of the State”, he added.
He reiterated the Lagos State Government’s willingness to collaborate with NGOs and other stakeholders interested in adolescent health programmes since young people constitute about 52% of Lagos State’s estimated population, adding that investments in their healthcare will provide demographic dividends that will positively affect the economy of the State
The Chief of Party, USAID YPE4AH, Dr. Boladale Akin-Kolapo stated that the event was aimed at developing an advocacy plan that will sustain the project activities in and around youth hubs, create visibility awareness for the programme using the media and solicit for dedicated budgetary allocation for adolescent reproductive health to carry out advocacy programmes in implementing States.
Also speaking, the project Celebrity Champion and Youth Ambassador, Mr. Gbenga Adeyinka remarked that in order to sustain the laudable project, there is a need to foster outreach and spread what is done through the traditional and new media using local languages.
He further stated that content should be dropped frequently on social media and newspapers to enlighten the people about the government’s interventions on adolescent reproductive health services, stressing that social media is a veritable tool to reach the targeted audience which constitutes the highest users of the platforms.
Reiterating that stakeholders should invest in sponsored adverts to gain followers on social media platforms, Adeyinka volunteered to participate in one-on-one outreach programmes along with his like-minded colleagues to ensure the success of the initiative.
Participants at the workshop included carefully selected seasoned professionals from diverse schools of practice with a passion for adolescent healthcare. They came together to draw up a dynamic State-specific advocacy work plan for the implementation of USAID YPE4AH programmes in Lagos and Kano States.