On February 16, Education as a Vaccine (EVA), received in person, Francois Girard and Erin Lynn Williams, President and Program Officer and Communication Person of the International Women Health Coalition (IWHC), an organization based in New York, U.S.A.,
Mrs Fadekemi Akinfaderin-Agarau, Executive Director of EVA, was on hand to receive the guests, walked them through different departments in the organization and had an interactive session with the guests which also include Izundu Kosichukwu, Program Officer of EVA Youth Advocacy Team. Issues surrounding the National Health Bill, adolescents and young people’s sexual reproductive health, and opportunities for young people in the National Health Bill tops agenda of the session.
Mrs Fadekemi Akinfaderin-Agarau addressed issues on sexual reproductive health right in Nigeria. The discussion also led to the YAG team sharing how they have benefitted largely in advocacy work and suggested ideas that could further increase young people’s access to sexual reproductive health information.
Usman Danladi, a serving youth corps member joined the YAG team in June 2015. He was introduced to EVA by a friend, Tonilola Amosun, who is also an advocate with EVA. He says, “Ever since I joined EVA, I have been active in many of the government policies speaking to adolescents and young people EVA has contributed to and I have equally learnt a lot.”
Jamila Haruna also joined EVA as an advocate in October 2015. She says her stay in EVA has added up to her existing knowledge on sexual reproductive health and has first-hand information on young people and sexual reproductive health rights.
On what the government should rightly put in place to solve challenges facing young people in accessing sexual reproductive health services, Bolanle Hassan, a youth advocate with EVA said there should be adequate knowledge of sexual reproductive health in all institutions of learning. “Young people are not aware of Sexual Reproductive Health and it is seriously affecting them.”
Tobilola Amosun, in his response canvassed for unrestricted access to knowledge and information on sexual reproductive health. He says while knowledge on sexual health is low, young people should participate more and get involved to address issues relating to sexual reproductive health as they, and not the older ones are largely affected.
Jemila Haruna again says “Girls are often ignored when it comes to the issues of sexual health. This should be discouraged as we must be allowed to participate in discussing what affects us most.”
Kayode Osundara, also a serving youth corps member submitted that young people know little or nothing about contraceptives. His words: “It is so bad that female’s knowledge on contraceptives is very low. Adolescents and young people are not allowed to take decisions and priority is given to men while woman are mostly ignored due to the parochial setting of the society.”