Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says in order to attain Universal Health Coverage, the country must emphasize health programs aimed at adolescents and teens, in keeping with the objective that “No adolescent or young person is left behind.”
Dr Ehanire made the remarks during a press conference in Abuja to mark International Adolescent Health Week, on Tuesday.
He cited a 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey data, which found that 19% of young Nigerian girls are moms and pregnant with their first child, 32% did not receive antenatal care, and 66% gave birth without the supervision of competent delivery attendants.
He stated that the National Adolescent Health and Development Technical Working Group has been repositioned and relaunched for improved performance, with membership recruited from key stakeholders, including youth-led organisations.
Dr Ehanire stated that the government sees the potential and importance of investing in teenage health and well-being to facilitate a healthy transition to adulthood.
According to the minister, the Federal Government has established a budget line for teenagers, produced a 2-year National work plan, and prioritized actions for implementation this year.
Senator Adeleke Mamora, Minister of State for Health, stated that for adolescents to grow and develop in good health, they require necessary information such as age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, opportunities to develop life skills, and health services that are acceptable, equitable, appropriate, and effective in a supportive environment.
Dr Walter Mulombo, World Health Organization Country Representative, emphasized the importance of protecting teenagers from threats while they explore the “new world.”
Reporting by Emmanuel Kutara; Editing by Saadatu Albashir