By Akeem Abas
Ibadan – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ford Foundation and some prominent Nigerians were on Thursday, honoured for their immense contributions to the promotion of adolescent health in the country.
The awards were announced and presented during the opening ceremony of the maiden National Conference on Adolescent Health and Development, held at the Subomi Balogun Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the maiden edition of the conference was organised by the Society for Adolescent and Young People’s Health in Nigeria (SAYPHIN) and sponsored by several other partners.
NAN reports that UNFPA and Ford Foundation had at the programme bagged the Nigerian Adolescent Campaign Award for their contributions to the promotion of adolescent health in Nigeria, over the years.
Other categories of awards presented to some prominent individuals who have similarly contributed immensely to the promotion of adolescent health were the fellowships and honourary fellowships awards.
Among those who bagged the SAYPHIN fellowship awards were Prof. Oladapo Ladipo, Chairman, SAYPHIN Board of Trustees; Dr Olusola Odujinrin and Hajia Mairo Bello.
Others are Dr Adesola Olumide, SAYPHIN General Secretary; Dr Babatunde Aransi and Dr Philipa Momah.
NAN reports that Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health and Mrs Grace Delano, a doyen of family planning, reproductive and adolescent health, both bagged the SAYPHIN honourary fellowships award.
In his remarks, Ladipo described the recipients of the awards as those who have passionately contributed to the advancement of adolescent health in the country.
Ladipo, who was also an awardee, recounted the various contributions of the recipients over the years, adding they were happy that the efforts had begun to yield good fruits.
Susan Sawyer, the President, International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH), expressed joy that the maiden national conference in the country was holding.
Sawyer, in her remarks delivered at the conference, said she was proud that the mission of IAAH had reached sub-Saharan Africa with people showing a great zeal.
“To all participants, I am very sure that you will not be informed at this conference, but challenged to take cognitive actions toward promoting adolescent health wherever you find yourselves,” she said.
Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, representative of UNFPA, appreciated SAYPHIN on the awards, promising that the organization would not relent in its efforts at promoting adolescent health.
He urged young people not to always succumb to frustrations, urging them to strive to take up leadership positions and contribute to nation building.
“You do not have to accept everything. You have to take the leadership role and by this, I mean you have to always be on the driver’s seat,’’ he said.
Earlier, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, SAYPHIN President, said the awardees were picked, after carefully evaluating their contributions to the promotion of adolescent health in the country over the years.
The UNFPA says it “is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled”.
It was established in 1969, and is headquartered in New York, U.S.