By Gami David
Women Friendly Initiative (WFI) an NGO, has called on media practitioners to adequately report Adolescent and Youth Friendly Health Services (AYFHS) with Nutrition Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN) to enhance health services.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, Dr Francis Eremutha made the call during the commencement of a three-day training session of selected journalists in Kuje.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training session held at AMOJ Hotel in Kuje Area Council, FCT, was presented by the Program Manager WFI – SSCALE Project, Mr Paul Aondofa and the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of WFI, Rosemary Adejo-Adaji.
Eremutha said the training will boost journalists capacities to interrogate government policies relating to adolescents health services and nutritional plan for the development of the health sector.
According to him, the training is also aimed at Strengthening Civic Advocacy for Local Engagements in Nigeria (SCALE -Project) funded by USAID.
He said that the SCALE – Project was advocating for several policy implementation in Nigeria but WFI focuses on AYFHS and NSPAN.
“We believe that the media will help us tell the stories and reveal the challenges of what we are addressing, as we promote the implementation of the policies across the states where we are working.
“The workshop selected journalists from Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Kwara, Ebonyi and FCT to share the policies, expectations of what they were supposed to achieve and level of implementation in these states we are working.
“To see how we can advocate, call the government both at state and local government level and see how we can effectively develop LGAs for those two policies,” he said.
He expressed hope that in the next three years, when those policies have been implemented in those states, and those LGAs it would become the model that could be shared across the country for others to learn from.
However, he said that the lessons learnt from implementing those policies would become the arguments for expansion and scale up across the country.
“In the past, we used to talk about adolescents as people who are just growing and have issues with developmental challenges.
“But today, adolescents are graduates without jobs and others who entered school at ages 11-12 years that ordinarily the parents should be guiding.
“But now we have boarding schools everywhere and they are in boarding schools and they are looking at their pairs for direction.
“Pair influence among adolescents has grown and today we have those who are into drugs, commercial sex, cultism and even armed robbery,” he said.
Besides, he said WFI was trying to engage the adolescence productively so that people can have time and effort programming their minds into what is productive.
The CEO added that the initiative is to take the youths away from social vices by promoting adolescent youth as an all round developmental tool that can bring them out of the crisis.
He maintained that the herders/farmers clashes, climate change and other challenges associated with food production and agriculture were limiting the availability of nutrients for Nigerians.
“Nutrition has become a challenge, from pregnant women to breastfeeding mothers to the 0-5 years old child even to the adolescents in the country.
“We are promoting the nutritional policy that also allows home gardening and allow the use of what we have to get what we want within our communities,” he added. (NAN)