The Nigerian population is disproportionately young with over 50 million Nigerians being between the ages of 10 and 24 years and vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and gender-based violence. Factors such as judgmental attitudes of healthcare service providers, socio-cultural norms, adolescents own fear and shame, disapproval from parents and community gatekeepers still contribute to adolescents’ inaccessibility of sexual reproductive health information and services.
Hence, study has shown that the integration of adolescent youth-friendly health services into primary health care centers have facilitated access of young people to sexual reproductive health information and services. Although this is only made possible when certain global standards are met in ensuring that the services provided are “youth-friendly”.
What makes these services provided youth-friendly, find out below:
Stigma-Free: service providers should be trained to provide youth-friendly services. They are not to discriminate, judge or stigmatize young people that want to access these services.
Convenient location and opening hours: The facilities should be easily accessible to young people and the opening hours should be convenient for them.
Privacy and Confidentiality: Young people should be given utmost privacy and assured of topmost confidentiality. They should feel safe and free to discuss any and all issues bothering them as regards their health and wellbeing.
Low/No cost: Young people should be provided with services for little/no cost at all.
Active youth engagement: Young people should be engaged at all levels of the intervention, from the designing to implementing. Their views and opinion should be sought. They can also be engaged as adolescent and youth-friendly health services promoters and peer educators as well as volunteers at the centers.
It is our collective effort as Government, CSOs, NGOs, and young people to ensure that young people have access to adolescent youth-friendly health services.