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“Youth to benefit from health care plan”
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“Youth to benefit from health care plan”

Ibrahim OlalekanInvesting in the health of young people is the focus of a newly-launched program, writes Ibrahim Olalekan, 26, a Correspondent from Abuja in Nigeria, about a venture that involves NGOs and government.

A non-governmental organisation called Education as a Vaccine (EVA) helped launch a five-year action plan for advancing the health and development of young people in Benue State, Nigeria.

EVA works with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has partnered the Benue State Ministry of Health for the project.

Established in 2000, EVA is focused on improving the health and development of children and young people. Speaking at the event which was held recently at the Kimbis International in Makurdi, Benue State, Mr. Lanre Alabi, a monitoring and evaluation expert with the UN’s Population Fund, applauded Benue State government and other coordinating organisations for developing a plan that will provide opportunities for adolescents and young people to access health services.

Alabi, in his remarks, stressed that the primary function of the UN Population Fund is to ensure that every birth is safe and that the potential of every young person in Benue State is fulfilled.  He further mentioned that youths constitute 33 per cent of Benue State’s population, but those youths are faced with various challenges ranging from HIV/AIDS and sexual transmitted infections to unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions, amongst others.

The monitoring and evaluation expert urged the Benue State Government to properly invest in the youths to prevent them from later constituting a health care burden. He also charged development partners not to abandon the plan’s implementation to the government’s hands, but to ensure it is fully implemented. In that case, an assessment of the plan’s implementation and impact would be made in 2017 by the United Nations Population Fund.

Dr. Mrs. Betty Agber, Director of Administration and Supply with the Benue State Ministry of Health, officially launched the Advancing Health and Development Plan and expressed satisfaction with the document. She also cited and commend the combined effort of EVA, other partners and the state’s Ministry of Health as contributing factors to the success of the plan.

Agber, pledging the state’s ministry of health commitment to respond to issues on adolescent and young people, also wasted no time in calling other development partners and NGOs to key into the plan by ensuring its full implementation.

At the end of the event, 62 copies of the plan were distributed to participants. Receiving copies were Dr. Terver Chieshe, Reproductive Health Coordinator with Benue State Ministry of Health and Mr. Yamsa S.G.S, Director of Benue State Planning Commission, among others.

Photo: courtesy of Ibrahim Olalekan

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About me: I have an extensive and practical experience in journalism, developmental projects, social work, and the AIDS response, and have been involved in large-scale programs in Nigeria to help overcome challenges facing sexual reproductive health rights.

My interests include travelling, writing on topical issues affecting rural communities, and engaging other global writers on mission-driven targets. I currently work with ‘Education as a Vaccine’ as their Communications Officer and write for www.ruralreporters.com

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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