Young People in Ogun State are asking government to increase funding for contraception in order to tackle some of their sexual and reproductive health issues such as rising Teenage pregnancy, unsafe abortion and Gender Based Violence resulting from the covid-19 lockdown.
The request was tabled during the one-day media table organised by the Society for Family Health (SFH) in collaboration with Ogun State Primary Health Care Development Board (OGPHECADB).
The Young People also want government to commit itself to support statewide availability of sexual reproductive health commodities and services as well as domestication of the various adaptations that will make 9ja Girls to keep meeting the SRH needs of adolescents and women of reproductive age within the state.
In her presentation titled: “Meaningful Youth Engagement in Adolescents and Young People’s Sexual Reproductive Health Services and COVID -19 Programme Assistant for SFH A360, Eunice Ogunkelu noted, prior to the lockdown, the 9ja Girls Program, of the A360 which worked through public facilities in the state had engaged the adolescent girls in empowerment programmes.
According to her, the programme provided the girls with 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.
“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”, said Ogunkelu.
She however regretted that the 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 which in turn affected the various physical learning sessions by the girls.
Speaking on state government’s intervention during the period of lockdown, Reproductive Health Coordinator at the Ogun State Primary Healthcare Development Board, Dr. Israel Orire said between April and July, a total of 6,505 girls were reached with reproductive health information and referred to health facilities for further assistance in the two Local Government Areas of Abeokuta South and Ado-Odo Ota.
“Out of the number, 3,673 of the girls visited health facilities for Sexual Reproductive Health services during the period with a total of 2, 706 girls adopted a form of contraceptive while 173 of them got treated for sexually transmitted infections.
He noted that the state had its share of challenges during the lockdown such as reduced household income necessitating many to become victims of sexual molestation in the cause of sourcing for survival, Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health was not immediately classified as an essential service at the onset of Covid19 hence a sharp decrease in uptake of commodities foe family planning and the challenge of mobilizing providers due to lack of protective equipment contributed to the inability to empower the young people in the early period of the lockdown.
Also speaking at the event, A360 Young Designer, Bukola Ogunsemi described unintended pregnanciy as one which often end the dreams and goals of most of the Adolescent girls.
According to her, “When a girl gives birth, she often drops out of school, doesn’t receive support from the baby’s father and his family, and may be kicked out by her parents.
She identified amongst others, stigma, perceived promiscuity, lack of access to Youth friendly services by adolescent and reactive reproductive health care for adolescents as some of the reasons many young people would not want to seek for services at Public facilities.
She pleaded that government expands the A360 programme across the other 18 Local Government Areas of the State.
The Incident Manager and Director Public Health, Dr. Kayode Soyinka said as at August 30, a total of 7,564 people have been tested with 1,646 positive and 1489 discharged recording 26 deaths.
According to Soyinka, the government aware that the index case in the country was from the state endeavored to put measures in place to combat spread of the disease in the community.
He said, government is in the stage of implementing community based management, designating one less patronized Primary Health Centre as isolation centre while only critically ill patients would be taken to state isolation centre.