Opinion

For the record: Society for Family Health Meaningful Youth Engagement in Adolescents and Young People’s Sexual Reproductive Health Services and COVID -19

By Eunice Ogunkelu Programme (Assistant A360)

Adolescents 360 Nigeria

A Project Implemented By Society for Family Health in Collaboration with Ogun State Primary Health Care Development Board (OGPHECADB)

Vision: Healthy lives for all, especially the poor and the vulnerable

Mission: To improve health outcomes by ensuring communities have access to affordable quality health services and commodities

Culture:   C3 (Customer Centred Culture)

Our Ethos: “We never lose sight of the people for whom we exist. They are the reason we work everyday with others of like minds: public sector, civil society and private sector players, to facilitate a truly people-centred integrated health system”

Project Goal

The goal is to break down barriers to adolescents and young people’s access to and voluntary use of modern contraceptive methods there by improving health outcomes and mCPR among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years

Project Objectives

To reduce unintended pregnancies and maternal mortality, improving health outcomes

To sustain improvements in the Sexual and Reproductive Health of adolescent girls beyond the life of the project

Why Adolescents 360?

Policy

*There are Restrictive policies and laws related to contraception and young people (particularly unmarried

Community

*Religious beliefs, Culture, Traditions and Social norms about contraception and young people

Individual

*Sexual and Reproductive Healthinterventions do notmatch thesocial/ emotional&cognitivedevelopmentstages of young people

Service

*Provider’s bias& stigma and lowavailabilityofyouth-friendlyservices

Adolescents and Youths

*WHO defines ‘Adolescents’ as individuals in the 10-19 years age group and ‘Youth’ as the 15-24year age group.

* It is a transitional phase of growth from childhood to adulthood.

*It is also a time to develop knowledge and skills, learn to manage emotions and relationships, and acquire attributes and abilities that will be important for enjoying the adolescent years and assuming adult roles.

Adolescents 360 Interdisciplinary Approach

Social Marketing

Youth-Adult Partnership Public Health A360

Socio-cultural AnthropologyHuman/User-Centered Design

Developmental Neuroscience

Trajectory of an Adolescent

In the north, many adolescent girls dream of finishing secondary school, getting married, having a family, and then continuing their education.

In the south, many adolescent girls dream of finishing school, learning a trade, gaining financial independence, and then getting married and having a family.

Weidentified three areas of design opportunity to inspire solutions that will:

*Create an informed and empowered generation

*Connect girls to sexual and reproductive health at relevant moments in their journeys

*Foster trusted support systems for girls to access sexual and reproductive health services

(In 2016 Adolescents 360 Nigeria carried out it’s formative research to learn about The Adolescent’s world – Girl’s vision, Economic and Social Pressure, Trust

Sex and pregnancy – Power Dynamics, Gender Based Violence, Risk perception, Barriers to contraception – Misinformation, Sex education and cultural norms, Trust for Health Providers.)

9ja Girls Program

“9ja Girls is a trusted system that empowers and supports girls and their communities towards improved adolescent sexual and reproductive health, through social and economic development that centers on supporting girls’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to aspire and achieve their goals for their lives.”

9ja Girls seeks to  revolutionize the way adolescent girls access sexual and reproductive health services

Our goal is to make contraception relevant and accessible for  adolescent girls.

(The 9jaGirls program works through public health facilities to provide girls with an opportunity to discuss their life goals, learn income-generating skills, and get needed information about life, love, and health from trusted youth friendly providers. These “LLH” sessions are followed by opt-out private counseling moments when girls can receive their choice of services from a comprehensive basket of options )

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

Strengthening programs through youth-adult partnerships transforms both young people & adults

*Youths build capacity to become advocates for adolescent sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) and become roll-out champions

*Take ownership—evolve programs

*Provide and encourage multiple opportunities for youth to develop, master, and apply critical skills gained from the project

Adolescents 360 Nig Meaningful Youth Engagement

*Lead Research

*Advocacy Meetings

*Community Mobilization

*Drive Innovation

*Digital / Online Platform Management

*Data Management

ACHIVEMENTS:

During the project implementation (Dec. 2017 to July 2020), a total number of 28,370 adolescent girls were reached, out of which 18,776 sexually active girls adopted a contraceptive method, 1930 girls ensured continuity of method, and 7,609 girls did not adopt a contraceptive because they do not have a need, while 55 girls tested positive for Pregnancy, above 733 girls were syndromically treated for STI.

Sexual & Reproductive Health (SRH) Services in Covid 19

*Covid-19 pandemic brought a lot of challenges such as ban on group meetings, restriction of movement and local transportation, palpable fear of being infected, and ban on interstate transport

*To ensure continuity of ASRH services during Covid-19 pandemic, following strategies were adopted:

*Demand generation: Mobilization  of girls through 1:1 channel, online follow up and referrals.

*Service provision to girls: Online LLH online sessions, Private counselling, follow up via WhatsApp and calls to girls.

*Provider scheduled visits for girls to access SRH services

Adaptations during COVID- 19

WhatsApp Groups: for quick communication, virtual trainings on COVID 19, LLH & LFH classes & daily review

*Bulk SMS: to reach girls without smart phones mostly and all girls, an SMS per week

*9ja Girls Facebook Revamp: to increase followers and engagement, promoted page, hosted live events

Our Prayers

We hereby advocate the following for adolescents and young people in the state:

*Increased focus, funding and response to the Adolescents and Young People SRH issues such as Gender Based Violence, Teenage Pregnancy, need for contraception, etc.

*Support increased access to Sexual and Reproductive Health services and commodities including contraceptives.

*Commitment from the state government to support statewide availability of SRH commodities and services

*Domestication of the various adaptations shown by 9ja Girls to keep meeting the SRH needs of adolescents and women of reproductive age within the state.

Thank you

 

 

 

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