|Participants at the media workshop on Life Planning for Adolescents and |
Youths in Lagos State
Unveiled at a one-day media sensitisation and orientation workshop on Life Planning for Adolescents and Youths (LPAY) organised by Development Communications (Devcoms) in Lagos, the programme targets the sexual and reproductive health and rights issues among ages 15 and 24.
“LPAY is strategically designed to respond to the reproductive health needs of young people and address current challenges that they face in accessing contraceptives. These ages of persons need to plan their lives so they can achieve their dreams and reach their maximum potentials”, the Youth Programme Officer NURHI, Miss Blessme Ajani, said.
Backing it up, Ajani added that evidence shows that about 16 million girls, aged 15 to 19, and some one million girls, under 15 years, give birth yearly in developing countries, Nigeria inclusive.
“Studies show that complications during child-birth and pregnancy are the second causes of death among 15 and 19 years old girls worldwide. The National Population Commission (NPC) has it that teenage pregnancy imposes severe health and psychological strains on the baby and the mothers, has a long term negative impact on sustainable development efforts,” she said.
While the programme is designed for youths and adolescents, 10 to 19 years old, it is said to help them become informed and actively make responsible and healthy choices in matters related to their reproductive health.
NURHI further described life planning as a programme fashioned for youths and adolescents in Nigeria, saying that it is fundamental in shaping the life and hopefully the future of a young person to achieve their full potentials in life.
Ajani further expressed: “When we talk about life planning, it has to do with youths getting access to all the information they need in their reproductive health life – accessing services. They, also, need life skills to achieve their potentials.”
Addressing journalists in Lagos,“55% of Nigerian population is under 20 years of age while that of adolescents engaging in unprotected sex is 56% female and 48% male.
“So, young people should have access to contraceptive services even at age 15. Service without consent age should be brought down to 15. Girls less than age 18 are having sex,” she added.
Ajani, therefore, urged the government to look at age appropriate information for young people. “We should be looking at getting sexuality education into our curriculum from JSS 1 to SS3. This will improve the family health life education.”