By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), has said that Save the Children International (SCI), Nigeria’s REACH project has contributed its quota to the growth and development as well as the general well-being of Nigerian adolescents and young people especially the girl child.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja, at the closing ceremony of the Reaching and Empowering Adolescents to make informed choices for their health in Nigeria (REACH project), Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the project has helped a lot of young people in the states of; Katsina, Gombe and Zamfara.

He recalled that the Federal Ministry of Health through the Department of Family Health in collaboration with Save the Children with funding support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) implemented a three (3) year REACH project in Gombe, Katsina and Zamfara States.

He said the aim of the intervention was to improve young people’s access to Gender Responsive Quality Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Right in 300 Communities across six LGAs from the above three selected States.

“This is fully in line with our vision and priorities of improving access to quality health care and attainment of UHC leaving no one behind.

“Other areas where the Department has enjoyed the collaboration of Save the Children Nigeria through the REACH project are: Development of the Adolescent Health and Development M&E Framework,
Re-printing of the National Training Manual for the Health and Development of Adolescents and Young People in Nigeria,
Printing of the National Policy on the Health and Development of Adolescents and Young People in Nigeria and
Printing of the Gender in Health Policy.

“There is no doubt that the project has within these three and half years achieved the set objectives in affecting young women and girls positively in the following areas: child marriage, early childbearing, educational attainment gender-based violence, decisions ability and access/utilization of services and improved sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) knowledge.

“It has reached and empowered
adolescents on age of marriage and capacities of health, gender responsive adolescent friendly services and health facility services.

Also speaking, the Acting Country Director, Save the Children International, Shannon Ward, said, “when we started the programme in 3018, we were worried about the acceptance of an adolescent sexual reproductive health project targeting 10-19 year olds, but the acceptance we received in the last 3 and the half years is beyond expectations.

“It is with the strength and consistency of the 3 states governments, the FMOH,
LGA stakeholders, community leaders, religious and traditional leaders,
parents, and adolescent boys and girls support that we have made great strides
towards accomplishing the objectives of the project – Ensuring that adolescent
girls and boys (aged 10-19 years) have access to “gender responsive” adolescent
sexual and reproductive health services and rights.”

She said the project has in-directly and directly reached 183,164 people
through its various approaches.

The SCI boss added that, “the project has targeted 62 health facilities providing capacity strengthening to
255 health workers on a series of clinical trainings (LARC- Long Acting Reversible
Contraceptives , Prevention and management of STI, post Abortive care, CLMS- Contraceptives Logistic Management System , FP counselling, SGBV and much more). The ‘project has graduated over 100,000 married and unmarried adolescents.”

On her part, REACH Project Director, Rahinatu Hussaini said,the team was happy to improve sexual reproductive health in those states.

“We are happy about this feat in those communities in the three states. The adolescents are aware of their rights and can advocate for such rights.”

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