The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire has expressed optimism that the newly inaugurated National Adolescent Health and Technical Working Group, will help mitigate the impact of early marriage, pregnancies among under aged mothers, which has shown to contribute about 40 per cent to Nigeria’s maternal death ratio of 512 to 1000 live-births.
Ehanire who stated this in Abuja during the inauguration of the working group, regretted that maternal death figures from adolescent mothers were as a result of improper care among other factors.
He advised the department of family health to work closely with all stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Women Affairs and that of Youths Development and Sports to ensure that the special needs of adolescents are effectively covered, in the planning and implementation of programmes.
“The Federal Government is resolute in ensuring access to quality health to Nigerians, including the vulnerable group. Adolescents make a significant proportion, 22 percent, of the population in Nigeria.
“Moving forward, Federal Ministry of Health will reposition the Technical Working Group and formally inaugurate it for better performance. The National Adolescent Health and Development Technical Working Group will provide guidance to the Federal Ministry of Health towards implementation of Adolescent Health and Development Policy to improve the health and wellbeing of all young people in Nigeria.”
Representing Young Persons’ Groups, Founder of Stand with a Girl Initiative, Margret Bolaji-Adegbola expressed optimism that the inauguration will yield meaningful engagements between young people and the designers and implementers adolescent health policies.
Adegbola further noted that the platform, if effectively utilized will help build a healthy adolescent base that will transit into viable adults, who can contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria.
“This platform, the technical working group on adolescent health and development will help to bring that coordination and also support the state implementation of the new policy.
“And overall, we are looking at having that transit successfully to adulthood and they are just able to achieve their full potential, whatever that means to them, having gotten informed decisions.”
Representing the United Nations, Lead Coordinator and Technical Advisor, Universal Health Coverage and Coverage Life Course Cluster at World Health Organisation, Dr. Claudia Vivas, called for harnessing of domestic resources to build on lessons from the pandemic.