The Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and National Primary Health Care Development Agency has launched National Guidelines for the Integration of Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services into Primary Health care Facilities in Nigeria.
While delivering his opening remarks, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Ambassador Sani S. Bala explained the reason behind the development of the guidelines thus: The need to set minimum standards for the integration of adolescent / youth friendly services into primary health facilities has necessitated the development and production of the guidelines we are gathered to launch today. This is crucial in the light of the necessity to provide adolescent/ youth friendly services at the grassroots level where a significant percentage of adolescents and other young people live”.
According to him, the document was produced in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) with funding from the Ford Foundation. He further revealed that the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Action Health Incorporated (AHI) was providing support for the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria to integrate the principles and concepts of youth Friendly Health Services into the training curriculum of nurses and midwives.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu who was to deliver a speech at the occasion was absent and was ably represented by a director in the ministry. He said that the ministry of Health, in her effort to attain health related Millennium Development Goals was implementing the Integrated Matenal, Newborn and Child Health Strategy within the over aching Framework of the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NHSPP). He reminded the audience that it was crucial and beneficial for all sectors to collaborate and work to ensure a better future for our young people and protect the Nigeria Entity.
Speaking to newsmen after the occasion, Dr. Bridget Okoeguale, Director Public Health said the guidelines would integrate activities of all health matters related to adolescent under primary health. She expressed satisfaction that the government has eventually taken primary health to the people that needed it, as she posited that the programme should be taken to those that it was meant for in the rural areas. Issues affecting the youth, like prevention of unwanted pregnancy, prevention of HIV and communicable disease should be brought to the knowledge of the youths through the programme .
On stigmatization of youth or apportioning blame, she said that a doctor has no right to tell a third party the outcome of a conversation with a patient.
Schools from rural areas in Abuja were part of the occasion and they participated in a play let.