Outbreak of covid-19 pandemic has prompted Kaduna State Government to plan scaling up the Society for Family Health (SFH-A360) Matasan Matan Arewa (MMA) model activities which seek to increase adolescent health needs particularly married girls age 15-19 years’ access to modern contraceptives and acquisition of vocational skills.
According to the Adolescent Health Desk Officer in Kaduna State Primary Healthcare development Agency, (KSPHCDA) Mrs. Jemimah Menyuwah the A360 pilot project which began in the State in 2018 received a boost in the third quarter of 2019 but suffered setback with the outbreak of covid-19.
She noted, “COVID 19 pandemic has affected the activities of Adolescents Sexual Reproductive Health in the state especially converging at the sites but that governmet is purposed to continue to scale up with improved access.
“The mentors and male IPCAs at some point had to stop mobilization due to the movement restrictions and COVID 19 preventive measures in the state, with technical support from SFH/Adolescent 360 project the demand generation team are able to do one-on-one mobilization and refer adolescent girls for contraceptive and other SRH services”, said Menyuwah.
The occasion was a media Round Table organised by SFH in collaboration with KSPHCDA and Kaduna State COVID-19 Task Force with the Theme: Meeting Adolescent and Young People’s Sexual Reproductive Health Needs During COVID-19″
Menyuwah who spoke on “Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Status in Kaduna State” said, the Matasan Matan Arewa (MMA) model activities, “creates strengthened, integrated health and community support systems capable of working together to make sexual and reproductive health services relevant and accessible to the married adolescent while also empowering her to achieve her goals, contribute to her family income and raise healthy children”.
She explained that through the hub and Spoke sites whichSFH A360 operates in 3 LGAs and 6 communities within the same 3 LGAs, operators have been able to ensure that the married adolescents are empowered through vocational skills as well as receive reproductive health services including counselling.
The Local Government Areas include: Kaduna south-Kakuri Gwari and Makera communities, Jaba LGA –Daddu and Sabon Garin Chori communities and Ikara LGA- Kurmi Kogi and Ikara communities have succeeded in raising women with meaningful lives.
Also speaking during the round table, Deputy Governor Dr. Hajia Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe commended SFH for the practical approach to solving the reproductive health needs faced by Adolescents in the State which has made the state to be one where others Northern States are emulating.
Dr. Balarabe pointed out that the covid-19 pandemic has seen many health workers come down but pleaded with SFH and other stakeholders to support the state in ensuring reproductive health needs and essential services are not locked down with the pandemic.
Speaking on the Kaduna Covid-19 Emergency Operations Committee Report, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Amina Baloni represented by the Executive Secretary of the KSPHCDA, Dr. Mohammed Bello Armiyau, said, the State task force on covid-19 has been very active with sensitizing residents about the disease as it has been vigorously involved in contact tracing of those who came in contact with active cases.
Armiyau said the establishment of protocols to reach out to residents at various entry points to the state was also been helpful as a tool to educate the people about the disease.
Baloni however attributed some of the challenges faced by the task force in curtailing community spread of covid-19 to the level of compliance by people to use face mask, observation of social distancing and doubts over the existence of covid-19.
On the success of the Matasan Matan Arewa (MMA) A360 programme so far in Kaduna, Northern Regional Coordinator, Mrs. Anita Elabo, noted that since 2018, a total of 34, 983 Adolescents have been reached with Reproductive Health needs out of a total of 95, 650 that were mobilized to the various sites.
Elabo pointed out that the program works through mobilisation of young people and some by Referral/accompany referral to enjoy benefits from Skill classes (Live, Love and Health / LFH session) as well as holding counselling sessions for mothers of teenagers amongst others.
She however regretted that the covid pandemic impacted on the project activities as there could no longer be gatherings of young people to meet for skill acquisition sessions due to social distancing policy.
She said new methods adopted which includes use of virtual technology has its limitations as not all members have access to mobile phones.