The World Health Organization (WHO) is pledging continuous support to the Federal Government of Nigeria in its effort at improving adolescent health towards achieving related health sustainable development goals.
The WHO Nigeria Country Representative, (WR) Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, at the inauguration of the first African and second Nigeria Adolescent Health Youth conference in Abuja recently, said the adolescence phase is a unique stage of human development and an important time to lay the foundations of good health.
To promote a healthy lifestyle for the age group, WHO supported the government to develop three adolescent health and development policies from 2001 to 2025: National Adolescent Health and Development Policy 2021 to 2025, National Adolescent and Young People’s Health and Development Implementation Plan 2021 to 2025 and are National Adolescent and Young People’s Health and Development Monitoring and Evaluation Framework 2021 to 2025.
Speaking on behalf of Dr Mulombo at the conference on August 20, 2021, WHO Technical Officer on Adolescent Health, Dr Joy Ufere said that the policies are centered around improving the health of adolescents and young people.
The WHO Flagship programme on Adolescent health will continue to improve the health and development of Adolescent and young people,
“The WHO Flagship programme on Adolescent health will continue to improve the health and development of Adolescent and young people, through the production of evidence-based guidelines and making recommendations to governments on adolescent health and adolescent-responsive health towards achieving Universal Health coverage”, said Dr. Joy Ufere
She added that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be achieved without investment in adolescent health and well-being, including fulfillment of its goals related to poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, economic growth, human settlement, climate change, and peaceful and inclusive societies.
Also, Dr Salma Anas Kolo who represented Nigeria’s Minister of Health at the conference reiterated Nigeria’s commitment towards adolescent wellbeing said, “As we ponder on the theme of the conference: Fulfilling Promises: Optimizing Investments in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing in Africa, permit me to reemphasize our commitments to the Global, Regional and National Agenda on Adolescent Health. In line with the campaign promises of this administration, the national aspiration is to invest in the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people.
This administration believes that this is key to achieving SDGs and demographic dividends. With adolescents comprising about 16% of the global population, and 23% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa, and 22% of the Nigerian population, it is quite clear that investing in this target group will fuel economic growth resulting in increased productivity, decreased health expenditures and the interruption of intergeneration transmission of poor health, poverty and discrimination among others.”
The three-day conference 18-21 August 2021 with the theme, Fulfilling the promises: Optimizing Investment In Adolescent Health In Africa which was organized by the Society for Adolescent and Young Peoples’ Health in Nigeria (SAYPHIN), is a convergence of thousands of stakeholders working to advance the health and overall wellbeing of adolescents and young people in Nigeria and across Africa. It also presented a unique opportunity for stakeholders working in adolescent space, policymakers, and young people to appraise progress made with fulfilling promises related to adolescents and young people.
Other dignitaries in attendance at the three-day event were the Emir of Shonga Dr Haliru Yahaya, Professional Associations and academicians in the field of Adolescent health Adolescents and youth group organization, representative of WHO Regional Director for Africa, UN agencies Civil Society organization and Non-Governmental Organizations.
Adolescence is a phase of life between 10 to 19, and an important time for laying the foundation of good health. The period is characterized by significant physical, psychological and social transitions. Despite thought as a health stage of life, over 1.1 million adolescents die each year from preventable causes such as road traffic injuries, suicide, and interpersonal violence.