At the FOREFRONT of YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, since 1974

 

The second edition of the National Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit held in Accra has identified lack of adequate Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) education and services as the major factors which negatively affect the lives of adolescents.

The two-day summit, which was organized by the National Population Council (NPC) with support from Marie Stopes International, Ghana, and civil society partners, was meant to show the linkage between effective population management and sexual reproductive health rights and to promote young peoples’ ideas and innovations in population management.

It was also aimed at providing a platform for partners to share knowledge and lessons on the implementation of sexual reproductive health rights, policy, programming, and advocacy, as well as to explore sustainable financing for adolescent sexual reproductive rights beyond donor funding. 

The theme for this year’s summit was: ‘‘Effective Population Management through Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Financing beyond Aid’’.

The event brought together about 300 participants from institutions such as the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ghana Health Service, Plan Parenthood Association of Ghana, National Youth Authority, Health Keepers Network, Inclusion Ghana, Curious Minds, Hope for Future Generations, Health Keepers Ghana, UNDP, and UNICEF.

Summit

In her opening address, the Executive Director of the National Population Council, Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, noted that the contraceptive prevalence rate among adolescents ranged from a low rate of 17 percent in West Africa to 73 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean while in Ghana, the adolescent contraceptive prevalence rate was 16.7 percent.

“The above indicators show that when adolescents are equipped with adequate knowledge and services and are retained in schools, they will gain skilled employment, become healthy adults and marry to produce healthy children through investment inadequate health, education and value clarification,” she said.

Dr. Appiah added that according to a major new Lancet Commission on adolescent health and well-being launched in 2016, decades of neglect and underinvestment had had serious detrimental effects on the health and well-being of adolescents aged 10 to 24 years.

“It is, therefore, important that nations actively make a choice to invest in adolescent reproductive health, knowledge, and services which will set the stage for nations to transform their human resource into healthy human capital to enable them to reap demographic dividends,” she said.

Other speakers

The Country Director of Marie Stopes International Ghana, Ann Coolen, mentioned that Ghana had a crucial challenge to address, with its adolescent birth rate still at 14.2 per cent and adolescent unmet needs for contraception at 50.7 per cent, according to the 2017 Maternal Health Survey report.

 “This situation, if rightly addressed, could be an opportunity for sustainable development but it requires that the needed resources are committed to address it. It is critical that the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents is given major priority in our development discourse and practice.

“We cannot wait any longer. We need to come together as government agencies, civil society partners and adolescents to address some of the key challenges that Ghana and particularly, its adolescents, are facing,” she stressed.

For his part, an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Coast, Prof. Akwasi Kumi-Kyereme, noted that the effectiveness of the adolescent reproductive health campaign could be measured by focusing on easily defined goals.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority Mr. Emmanuel Asigri, the Minister of Youth and Sports, noted that there are still wide disparities and inequities in access to and utilization of sexual and reproductive health services between urban and rural areas.

“There are still geographical zones and vulnerable young people who do not have access to adequate youth-friendly services that are affordable, non-judgmental and confidential” he noted.

And to arrest these disparities and inequities, the Minister mentioned that the Ministry through the National Youth Authority is funding key projects to create the conducive environment for the youth to realize their dreams.

Two separate speeches read on behalf of the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu; and the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh respectively, noted that the sexuality and reproductive health of adolescents were crucial and must be taken seriously to help manage the country’s population growth rate.

 

Dr. Kofi Abotsi, Dean, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School, has called on stakeholders to engage the youth while making decisions in the education sector.

Dr. Abosti stressed the involvement of the youth was necessary because the transformative part of education and the failures of education impact directly on the youth.

A statement issued by Mrs. Theodora W. Anti of the National Network of Youth Groups in Governance (NNYoG) and copied to the Ghana News Agency said Dr. Abotsi made the call in a presentation at a Youth forum in Accra on the theme: “Creating and Strengthening Safe Spaces for Youth Participation in Decision Making”. 

It was organised by NNYoG with support from the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) and Oxfam in Ghana.

Speaking on the topic: “Youth Participation in Decision making: a Necessity for Accountability in Quality Education Provision in Ghana,” Dr. Abotsi emphasised that young people were the biggest beneficiaries and losers of any system of education and therefore must be interested in what goes on in the education sector.

He said given the global competitiveness in employment today it was imperative that Ghana’s education system positioned the Ghanaian youth as a ‘preferred skilled candidate for employment and entrepreneurship’. 

The Dean accused Ghanaian educated elites and the youth of apathy and aloofness, leaving education in the hands of politicians.

He said since 1987, Ghana, which had the best of educational system and schools in West Africa, ‘has gone downhill’ especially in the area of skills training.; adding that the lack of focus on skills training was a major cause of the country’s unemployment challenge.

Dr. Abotsi encouraged young people to rise and play an active role to shape Ghana’s education system; declaring that Ghana desperately needs a non-partisan plan and approach to education reforms.

“Even though the government may have good intention, because they will not be in power forever, it is imperative the youth from all backgrounds participate,” he said. 

He challenged the youth not to wait for opportunities to be given to them but to take every available chance to make their voices heard in the governance of education.

He said ‘education is the biggest factor of change in our country and governance, and the way to get back what we have lost is for the youth to rise and influence policy’.

The forum brought together youth groups from all 10 regions of Ghana. 

Dignitaries present at the forum include Mr. Emmanuel Asigri, Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA); Mr. Kojo Asemanyi, Secretary, Ghana Chapter of the Young Parliamentarians Forum and Mrs. Abigail Larbi Odei, Programme Manager at the Media Foundation for West Africa.

The NNYOG comprises of over thirty governance focused youth groups and youth coalitions in across the country. 

NNYOG is as an advocacy group for youth and national development policy issues with a mandate to improve and increase young people’s participation in the development of our country.   

 

 

 

 

 

Source: GNA Story (http://www.ghananewsagency.org/education/dean-calls-for-youth-engagement-in-educational-reforms-decision-making--138134) 

Published: 2018-09-04 

 

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Mr. Emmanuel Asigri has briefed media persons on the upcoming Youth Entrepreneurship Summit to be jointly organized by the NYA and Commonwealth Alliance for Young Entrepreneurs (CAYE) scheduled to come off on Friday, 23rd March 2018.

The summit which is under the theme “Inspiring Youth Entrepreneurship” aims at bridging the gap between the Youth Entrepreneurship, development stakeholders, financiers, and beneficiaries.

Mr. Asigri intimated that the NYA intends to set up a One-Stop Business Centre for entrepreneurs and anyone contemplating a business. It is envisaged that within the office, shall be a representative or staff of every important government agency- Registrar-General’s Department, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Tourism Board, Ghana Export Promotion Council, SSNIT and several other agencies which business owners have to interact with to get on with their work.

In this stead, at one location, a business owner can find and contact important agencies critical to his business in the most timely manner.

The goal of the summit is, therefore, to rally government institutions to come around the National Youth Authority’s goal of creating a one-stop business center for entrepreneurs who need to interact with scores of governments institution to make business decisions. 

The venue for the event is the Accra Digital Centre.

 

Issued by the PRO Department (NYA) dated 22nd March 2018

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