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Youth build skills in Sexual, Reproductive Health Rights

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
A participant contributing during the interactive focus group discussion session
A participant contributing during the interactive focus group discussion session

Adolescents, who participated in a skills building session, have called on government to increase financing for adolescent and youth Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), focusing on data collection, education and health.

They also urged the government to work towards ensuring transparency in the disbursement of funds and other resources for adolescent SRHR.

About 250 adolescent girls and boys, aged between 10 and 19 years, from the Accra Metropolitan Area and Ningo-Prampram District participated in the skills building session.

They included those in and out of school, refugee girls, persons with disabilities and kayayei.

The session, which preceded the fifth African Health Economics and Policy Association Biennial Scientific Conference held in Ghana, was to intensify Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) as a fundamental tool to dismantle barriers inhibiting free and informed choices.

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It was held on the theme: “The Power of Choice- Promoting Informed SRHR Choices among Young People to Advance the ICPD Agenda in Ghana.”

Statement

In a statement issued after the session, the adolescents also called on governments and all stakeholders to include young people in policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of SRHR and SGBV related issues.

They further called for increase access to SRHR information and services through innovative channels in schools, communities and by health providers.

“Stakeholders must commit to build our capacity and knowledge of our SRHR realities as they feed into the wider context of health in Africa, and utilising this knowledge for targeted advocacy at all levels,’ the adolescents said.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) , they said, must mobilise more resources for adolescent SRHR interventions and also partner governments, faith-based organisations and other stakeholders, including adolescent and youth-led networks and organisations to roll out adolescent and youth SRHR interventions.

Turning to the private sector, the adolescents said the sector must target Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives at adolescent SRHR interventions and further help create more community centres where adolescents and youth can easily access SRH services and information.

In addition, they called for increased coordination and partnerships between youth-led organisations and networks, young parliamentarians and other young professionals with the aim of strengthening capacity and access of young people to hold decision-makers at all levels accountable for the commitments they have made towards sustainable development and Universal Health Care.

Appropriate education

Welcoming the participants, the UNFPA Country Representative, Mr Niyi Ojuolape, stated that the conference was to ensure that the adolescents have access to the appropriate education and information that will enable them to achieve their full potentials.

“Through the skills building training, you will be equipped to make informed decisions,” he added.

The Conference, Mr Ojuolape said, was organised as part of the Adolescent Girls Programme, which employs innovative approaches to empower young people, particularly adolescent girls with health, educational and social assets.