By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The National Coalition for the Advancement of Adolescent and Youth Health (NCAAYH), has called on the Federal and State Ministry ofHealth to create dedicated budget line for the health needs of adolescents and young people and ensure prompt release and utilization of funds to promote access and utilization of the
Speaking yesterday in Abuja, during a press conference, Pitan Oyeyemi, National Coordinator of the coalition, also called on the Minister of Finance and the National Assembly to make funding avallable for Family Planning (FP) commodities and services in 2022 Health Budget through Supplementary appropriation or pay through service-wide vote of the 2022 budget.
“The Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency should integrate Adolescent-Youth Friendly services mto primary health care facilities as part ofroutine services.
“The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) must be extended under the purview of Universal Health Coverage to include Adolescent and Youth Health Friendly Services, and make such services affordable to the Nigerian youth.
“The Federal Ministry of Health to strengthen the National Adolescent and Youth Technical Working Group to include and promote active youth and adolescent participation in all its planning and programs.
She said the coalition is committed to advancing the health and total well-being of adolescents and youths in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is a country of over 200 million people, and based on United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)’s statistics, six out of every ten persons in Nigeria is a youth between the ages of10-24 years. This means that more than halfthe population of Nigeria is made of young persons, they are the future of this country.
“Nigeria allocated a total of N407 billion and N584 billion for its health in the year 2020 and 2021 respectively; and just 0.2%(equivalent to N819 million) and 0.07% (equivalent to N398.7 million) of these health allocation was made to cater for the health of adolescents and young persons that account for sixty-three percent of the population, the future of Nigeria.”
She said the implication of the low budget allocation to young people is poor youth and adolescent health friendly services across the country; poor nutrition and inadequate access to contraceptive information and services among young people, which put them at risk of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion, maternal morbidity and mortality.
“The implication on Education is massive, as adolescent female youth will drop out of school and diminish their chances of getting good jobs and productivity.
“Some are even forced into early marriage, the impact of all of these on their mental health can only be imagined. With these, the Future is at Risk!
A nation that poorly plans for its future will grow to be an unhealthy and unproductive nation. This is why the NCAAYH is calling the Government to action.”