On its efforts to address the challenges that adolescents across the country encounter such as gender-based violence (GBV), substance abuse, and lack of access to sexual reproductive services, the Federal Government is partnering with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to develop local strategies aimed at tackling the menace.
The UNFPA noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore some of the persistent challenges adolescents face such as the silent pandemic of gender-based violence (GBV), the prevalent stigma adolescents experience in accessing family planning services and the hurdles adolescents and young people living with HIV has to overcome in accessing treatment.
While disclosing these in Abuja during a briefing to commemorate the International Adolescent Health Week whose theme is “Resilience in the Face of Pandemic,” the UNFPA representative in Nigeria, Ms Ulla Elisabeth Mueller urged the government and other critical stakeholders to ramp up engagements with adolescents, and give them platforms for expression.
She said: “This has been our mantra and the key component of our three transformative results of ensuring zero-maternal mortality, zero-unmet need for contraceptives and zero-incidents of gender-based violence and other harmful practices.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said: “The leading health challenges among adolescents and young people in Nigeria, from the report of a situation analysis conducted by the Federal Ministry of Health 2019, are issues of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH), mental health disorders, substance abuse, nutritional problems, violence and injuries, physical disorders and chronic conditions such as asthma, sickle cell disease disorders, and oral health problems, including communicable and non-communicable diseases.