The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative NURHI, unveils a program for adolescent and youths aimed at providing them with positive life changing information that can help them make informed choices about critical issues in life.
The program, which is the first of its kind in Kaduna by NURHI, will provide a facility for young people to access counselling on issues affecting their lives.
Speaking with newsmen in Kaduna, the program officer at NURHI, Aisha Salihu Waziri explained that, Life Planning for Adolescents and Youths, LPAY, is expected to address the complexities around the lives of adolescents and youths; stressing the need for them to be given accurate and adequate information on life skills including negotiation skills, self esteem and communication skills among others.
According to her, “Adolescents and Youth program is focusing on increasing demand for childbirth spacing knowledge amongst married young persons and promoting sexual responsibility (life planning) amongst them to ensure they make informed decisions about their reproductive health”.
“Kaduna state has a population of 7.8million out of which 3.2 are youths. According to the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), 42.2percent of young people are sexually active in the state while 54.2 percent of girls aged 15-19 have had sex before the age of 20. LPAY therefore integrates a deliberate and innovative focus on adolescents and youth (aged 15-24) in its strategic approach responding to the needs and increase demand for reproductive health information and services among young people”.
Aisha further stated that, life planning skills is about ensuring that girls that are married off before the age of 18 deliver safely and space their birth to help them reach their maximum potentials in life and also their overall wellbeing.
“It is also about ensuring every girl hawking on the street knows how to protect herself against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy among others,” she stressed.
In an opinion sampled by Voice of Nigeria on LPAY, Zarah Mohammed said, the program would help young people live a better life when provided with the necessary tools to guide their lives, ” parents need to also realise the challenges we experience sometimes from childhood to adulthood, the transition can be misleading especially when you have nobody to guide you”.
Another youth, Samuel Zamani, expressed enthusiasm about the program, saying it will help young people in making right decisions.
“These days, most of us rely on our friends or the social media for a lot of information regarding our lives but if we will have people to counsel us just like we use to have the guidance and counselling unit in secondary schools, we will have success stories to tell in future”, Zamani noted.
Aisha said, young people experience maturity at different stages which often affects their emotional, physical, social and psychology well being which may lead them to making uninformed decisions.
The program therefore is expected to involve parents, government, traditional and religious leaders in advocating a better life for young people in the State.