The federal government has put in place strategies to improve the health of adolescents and young people in Nigeria.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole made this known in Abuja recently, while declaring open a five day stakeholders’ meeting on Health and Development of Adolescents and Young People in Nigeria, organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with World Health Organizations (WHO).
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Abdulaziz M. Abdullahi said the meeting was a reflection of the ministry’s commitment to ensure significant improvement of health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people Nigeria.
Adewole said Adolescence is a period of transition between childhood and Adulthood (aged 10-24). There are about 47 million adolescents and young people in Nigeria.
“Available evidence indicates that adolescents and young people in Nigeria face challenges which include mental health problems resulting from drugs and substances abuse, sexual and reproductive health problems as well as endemic and chronic diseases.
As part of the strategies, the ministry recently, banned production and distribution of Codeine drug and other substances that cause harm to adolescents and young people,” he said.
The minister explained that National Strategic Health Development Plan II, approved during the National Council on Health in Kano, would provide support to adolescents and young people in Nigeria.
He further said that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which was being gradually adopted by states had great impact on adolescents and young people adding that the Saving One Million Lives Programme, the health intervention funds to states, was beneficial to adolescents and young people.
“I implore the group of experts here to come up with innovative ideas and feasible interventions that would enhance adolescents and youth friendly health services and programmes across the country particularly as we work together towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” the Minister said.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, represented by the Director, Department of Family Health, FMOH, Dr. Adebimbe Adebiyi said that investing on adolescents and young people was a national priority considering the growing population and the increasing need of their health care services.
Abdullahi called on participants to assess the current situation of adolescents and young people in the country with a view of harnessing resources to address their immediate needs.
The WHO Country Representative, Dr. Wondi Alemu represented by Dr. Andrew Nbewe said that WHO had made adolescents health a flagship Programme.
“Adolescent health is a flagship Programme for World Health Organization, and the organisation is available to providing every necessary assistance to ensure that our adolescents are healthy”