Nigeria must invest in adolescent health for sustainable development -Expert
Health expert Adesegun Fatusi said Nigeria must invest adequately in adolescent health to achieve sustainable development.
Mr. Fatusi, who is the national president of the Society for Adolescent and Youth Health in Nigeria (SAYPHIN), said Nigeria, and indeed Africa, have the fastest growing rate of adolescents in the world.
He spoke at a briefing on Wednesday as part of the activities marking the 1st Africa Conference and the 2nd Nigeria Conference on Adolescent Health and Development, scheduled for August 19.
He said: âSadly, Africa contributes the highest proportion of youth deaths in the world. About 5,000 young people die each day, or nearly 1.5 million people worldwide each year, and they probably die from preventable causes.
âUnfortunately, the response to adolescent health is the weakest in Africa and the responses have not been optimized. And we know that without maximizing our investment in the lives of young people, there is no way we can grow our economy.
“There is no way to ensure sustainable development for the future without investing in this aspect of health.”
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 1.2 billion people worldwide are adolescents and about 1.2 million adolescents die each year, mostly from preventable causes.
The international agency said many adolescents lack access to the essential information, quality services and protective environments they need to stay healthy and healthy.
He also said that around 23 million teenage girls get pregnant each year. This in turn leads to maternal mortality, mainly linked to child marriage as the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19.
A representative of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Chris Ugboko, said the ministry has a national strategic plan for health development.
âThis plan has five pillars that include 15 priority areas, and the fourth priority area is where adolescent health issues belong.
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“One of the responsibilities in this priority area is to develop frameworks that will be used to examine the development and sexual health of adolescents,” he said.
Mr. Ugboko said the federal government has carried out a national adolescent needs assessment across the country and the information gathered has guided the development of the national adolescent health policy.
âSince then, we have tried to make this policy count and we make sure that it is implemented,â he added.
He also said there are ongoing collaborations between partners and local governments where adolescent health cases are predominantly found.
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