The Coalition for the Advancement of Adolescent and Youth Health, (NCAAYH) has raised the alarm that Nigeria’s future is being put at risk, following poor budgetary provision to cater for the health needs of youth and adolescent.
This concern was raised by the National Coordinator, Oyeyemi Pitan during a press conference by NCAAYH themed “The Future We Want to See; Adequate Health Budget and Programming for Adolescent and Youth Health in Nigeria”.
According to Pitan, out of the 407 billion and 584 billion health budget in 2020, 2021 respectively, only 0.2% was allocated for the health needs of youths and adolescent in 2020, while 2021 saw a further decline to 0.07%.
Therefore, the National Coordinator, among other asks, requested that the Federal Ministry of Health strengthens the National Adolescent and Youth Technical Working Group to include and promote active youth and adolescent participation the ministry programmes planning and implementation.
“The Federal and States Ministries of Health should create a dedicated budget line for the health needs of adolescents and young people and ensure prompt release and utilisation of funds to promote their access and utilisation of these services.
“The Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly should make funding available for the FP commodities and services in 2022 Health Budget through supplementary appropriation or pay through service-wide votes of the 2022 budget.
“The Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency should integrate Adolescent-Youth Friendly services into primary health care facilities as part of routine services.
Also speaking, the programme manager, NCAAYH, Adewale Iwatutu lamented the lack of access to health insurance services by young people and the indigent poor in rural areas.
Adewale also advocated for training of primary health care service providers to be trained to improve their knowledge how to engage adolescents and young people without stigmatizing them, when seeking reproductive and HIV services.
“The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) must be extended under the purview of Universal Health Coverage to include Adolescent and Youth Health Friendly Services, and make such services affordable to the Nigerian Youth.”
According to statistics from the Unites Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, six out of every 10 persons in Nigeria are youth’s between the ages 10 to 24 years, which implies that half of the population is comprised of young persons.