(Parenting & Style)
IT WAS interestingly a three-day packed event on Advancing Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) recently held at the prestigious Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton, Abuja.
It was the inaugural Summit on Reproductive Health issues affecting key members of every family organised by the Federal Ministry of Health co sponsored by Champions for Change based at the Public Health Institute, the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria, and Women Friendly Initiative.
From various walks of life came representatives of the youths, public and private health experts, international donor partners, civil society activists as well as the media; all were converged for the inaugural Summit and to hold discussions on the theme, Accountability Now: Advancing RMNCAH.
Although topics under the theme were divergent, sessions that involved young people actually pulled quite a large participation and partners one of which was Ipas, Nigeria which has the goal of Health, Access & Rights.
Speaking to our Correspondent shortly after the formal launch of ‘Da Subject Matter’ a Sexual Health and Rights advocacy
Mobile App meant to because what it seeks to do, is to bring the youths on board in taking decisions that affect them.
“What we have seen in the past is the tendency to make decisions on behalf of the youths.
” In the past, the tendency was to determine for the youths what is good for them but with the launch of the new App, what it seeks to do is to bring the youths to be part of the discus, that the youths are part of the discussions on the strategies, what is important to them in life, what they would like to see in their lives especially as it relates to their reproductive health”, said Shekarau.
According to the Ipas Director, “Involving young people in matters affecting their sexual health is very germane.
“Gone are the days when we say youths are the leaders of tomorrow; the youths today, have actually come of age and that tomorrow is their today and so we need to get them on board and involved and that is the very essence of ‘Da Subject Matter’.
The Ipas Country Director however advised that the young people would need to get themselves committed to issues of Accountability as they are affected on matters of Sexual Health and Rights.
According to her, “Even when there is funding for sexual health issues, if the youths are not committed to promoting these issues, then we would not achieve much.
“However, I think it is important to say that amongst the youths I personally have encountered through my organisation, Ipas, I see commitment, a hunger and a thirst to really get involved and so I think this programme is coming at the right time when the youths are brought on board.
“The only challenge perhaps is the issue of capacity development, which I think is very important. We need to rally round the young people to build their capacity. So the investment and funding from donors and civil society should be to build the capacity of the young people to be able to negotiate their issues and come up with strategies that would improve their lives; I think that is very key”, averred Hekarau.