Cheering news – Involvement of young people in family and life planning in Nigeria

The Advancing Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health Advocacy in Nigeria (PROJECT AAYRHAN) is a collaboration between the Academy for Health Development (AHEAD) and Partnership At Scale (PAS). Partnership At Scale (PAS) is a Health accountability project with a timeline of 2017-2022 whose issue areas are Family Planning, Routine immunization, among others. Academy for Health Development (AHEAD) is a non-for-profit research and health development organisation with a mission to improve health systems and health development. AHEAD engages in health system strengthening, research, programme implementation, capacity building, and translating knowledge into effective policies and programmes.  Adolescent development is a priority at AHEAD.

PROJECT AAYRHAN is aimed at empowering young people to advocate for family planning policies in Lagos. We believe that if the capacity of young people and organizations with potentials for impact in the Adolescent and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health field is built in identifying, tracking and advocating for youth focused family planning policies in Lagos state, then there would be (i) More empowered young people with the capacity to drive relevant changes and influence their peers;  (ii) Awareness and monitoring of the implementation of youth related family planning policies in Lagos; and (iii) Effective implementation and accountability of youth related family planning policies in Lagos State. These we hope to achieve by implementing evidence-based family and life planning initiatives.

The overarching aim of the workshop was to initiate the development process of 40 Family Planning Youth Advocates in Lagos State. The objectives were to:

·         Expose the young people to field experience in Adolescent Health and Family practices in Lagos State.

·         Create a linkage among PROJECT AAYRHAN, Family planning Youth Advocates in Lagos State and the Adolescent Health Unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Health.

·         Train the Youth Advocates on developing high impact action plans

The workshop held between the 24th to 27th of September 2019 at the Bible Guest House, Palm Groove, Lagos State and was targeted at 40 young persons from 9 different youth organisations in Lagos State that focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health of young people.

The workshop had presentation sessions on topics related to key issues in Adolescent family planning and Action plan development were held.

At the end of the workshop, the participants were able to develop two high impact action plans for advancing advocacy on young people family planning policies in Lagos State. They also showed creativity by making a short video to support contraceptive effective policies in Lagos State in support of the World Contraceptive day.

The workshop also birthed positive outcomes like building a collaborative link between the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Youth groups in Lagos and AHEAD-PAS project.

The next steps for PROJECT AARYHAN are to provide funding for the implementation of the two Action plans drafted by the young people and technical support for the implementation of the Action Plans and to ensure continuous engagement of the committed young people in the AARYHAN Project.

PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WORKSHOP

During the workshop, our youth advocates commemorated the World Contraception Day by lending their voices on Sexual and Reproductive Health Right issues; contraceptive commodities and condition in Nigeria. See video below

 

1st Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin Legacy Forum

The Academy for Health Development (AHEAD) in conjunction with the Partnership For Advocacy in Child and Family Health @ Scale (PASA) organised the 1st edition of the Professor BabatundeOsotimehin Legacy Forum. It was held on the 19th of July, 2019 at the Conference Centre in the University of Ibadan.

In her remarks, Mrs FunkeOsotimehin advocated for the education of Family Planning to be extended to not just young and teenage girls, but also to their mothers.

In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of health, through his representative Dr KayodeAfolabi recognized the contributions of Prof.Osotimehin to the health sector through his leadership at the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), as the Honourable Minister of Health, and as the UNFPA Executive Director. He said the FMOH is committed to ensuring Nigeria achieves the modern contraceptive prevalence rate of 27% by the year 2020.

Dr Omolola Omosehin, speaking on behalf of the UNFPA said the organization would remember Prof.Osotimehin for his tenacious advocacy for the health of women, for gender equality and youth and women empowerment. He described Prof.Osotimehin as a man of vision who was politically astute and incredibly eloquent.

Other goodwill messages came in from guests present, like the Provost of the College of Medicine at the University of Ibadan and the former Vice-Chancellor of Igbenedion University, Professor EghosaOsarumen.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Prof.Otolorin who delivered the keynote address talked about a lot of family planning variables and their impact on the country. He said our rapid population growth is a barrier to our development as our economy is growing below the population growth rate. He identified an inverse relationship between the rate of contraception use and degree of education and economic status and emphasized the needs to improve the numbers.

PANEL DISCUSSION

Discussions by the panel made up of state and private actors in the Family Planning sector surrounded issues such as adopting a multi-sectorial sector-wide approach to implementing administrative and financial policies, public health financing, the role of the private sector in advocacy and implementation of family planning, the factors that affect the use of contraceptives among young people, innovations in the uptake and use of family planning methods and the need for collaboration rather than competition in the advancement of family planning goals.

VOICES FROM THE FIELD

Private organizations and Civil Society Organizations also presented their works and researches around family planning advocacy and implementation across the country.

JOURNAL LAUNCH

The Forum came to an end with a launch of a special edition of the African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences Supplement. The edition holds works of about 30 authors and was compiled in honour of Prof.Osotimehin who was a one-time editor of the journal.

A review of the 1st Professor Babatunde Osotimehin Legacy Forum would not be complete without highlighting the camaraderie and warm collegiality among discussants at the event.

PHOTOS FROM THE 1ST PROFESSOR BABATUNDE OSOTIMEHIN LEGACY FORUM

We look forward to your contribution to and participation in next year's event, which promises to be more exciting still.