Towards promoting the fortunes of Sexual and Reproductive Health, SRH, issues of adolescents and young persons, the Nasarawa State government has been called upon to intensify focus on funding and response to Gender-Based Violence, GBV, teenage pregnancy, contraception, among other issues affecting adolescents and young people in the State.
The call came recently as 2,000 unplanned pregnancies were averted even as over 300 Sexually Transmitted Infections, STIs, were syndromically managed by adolescent girls during the COVID-19 lockdown from March till August 2020 in the State.
Making the call for more funding commitment to support state-wide availability of contraceptives and increased access to other SRH commodities and services, the Programme Assistant, Adolescents 360 Project in Nasarawa State, Samuel Ombs advocated for the domestication of the various adaptations of the Matasa Matan Arewa, MMA, a project in order to meet up the SRH needs of adolescents and women of reproductive age within the state.
Speaking in Lafia during a media roundtable organized by the Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Board in collaboration with and the Society for Family Health/A360 Project, Ombs stated that during the two years of the project intervention, a total of 7,537 sexually active adolescent girls in the State adopted at least one contraceptive method, out of which 525 girls returned for continuity of their preferred method.
In his presentation entitled: “Meaningful Youth Engagement in Adolescents and Young People’s Sexual Reproductive Health Services and COVID -19”, Ombs stated that 1,106 girls had no need of a contraceptive, while 101 girls were confirmed pregnant, even as over 500 girls were syndromically treated for Sexually Tested Infections, STI.
During the two years of intervention, 10,032 adolescents girls most of who are married, were reached with SRH services and commodities including contraceptives.
“COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of challenges such as a ban on group meetings, restriction of movement and local transportation, palpable fear of being infected. This led to the closure of public PHCs occasioned by the health workers strike in the state due to a cut in pay.”
Ombs remarked that regardless of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of challenges,
strategies adopted by the MMA project to ensure continuity of ASRH services
Also speaking at the roundtable, Synderila Bulus, a Young Designer, A360 Project, Nasarawa State said the interventions put in place by the A360 Project, Family helped avert 2,000 unplanned pregnancies and syndromic management of over 300 STIs.
Bulus, in a presentation entitled: “Reaching Adolescent and Young Persons with essential life-building skills and SRH Services in COVID-19: Rapid Adaptations to Ensure Adolescents and Young Persons are Empowered to Achieve Their Future Dreams”, argued that by providing the live text-based WhatsApp Love Family and Health, LFH, class run by providers, as well as weekly SMS to girls who received services for support continuation, the adaptations enabled A360 to reach and engage with girls during the lockdown and the health workers strike which led to the closure of PHCs across the state.
“By this, we have been able to avert over 2,000 unplanned pregnancies and syndromically managed over 300 STIs cases from March till August. COVID-19 continues to heighten the vulnerabilities of people groups, especially women and girls. A360 continues to adapt to ensure girls have access to the SRH information and services they need to achieve their life goals and raise healthy families.”
Further, Bulus observed that even as COVID-19 continues to heighten the vulnerabilities of people groups, especially women and girls, A360 continues to adapt to ensure girls have access to the SRH information and services they need to achieve their life goals and raise healthy families.
The rapid adaptations to ensure adolescents and young persons are empowered to achieve their future dreams.