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Health News of Thursday, 8 November 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Resource state institutions on SRHR - Advocates to government

Nana Healthy President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights advocates have called on the government to adequately resource and also empower state institutions responsible for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, such as the National Population Council (NPC) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

This, according to the advocates, is to ensure that adolescent SRHR issues such as facilitating innovations, sharing good practices, generating local level solutions while scaling up initiatives in partnerships with government and other partners receive the needed attention and financial investment.

In a communique signed by the advocates at the 2nd National Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit held at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, the group also called on the government to expedite action on the integration of Family Planning into the benefit package of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The summit was supported by the Marie Stopes International, an NGO which specialises in providing pregnancy crisis management, contraception and family planning services..

Below is the communique

We Adolescents, Students, Young People, Persons with Disabilities, SRHR Partners, Academics, Policy Makers, Adolescent and Youth SRHR advocates at the 2nd National Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit held at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, have discussed issues on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) and how to increase funding for ASRHR.

We reflected and noted the critical roles Government must play to ensure that adolescent SRHR issues such as - facilitating innovations, sharing good practices, generating local level solutions while scaling up initiatives in partnerships with Government and other partners - receive the needed attention and financial investment, and call for the following:

1. Government should adequately resource and also empower state institutions responsible for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, such as the National Population Council (NPC), the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the National Youth Authority (NYA) and the School Health Education Programme (SHEP) of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to fulfil their mandates of coordinating ARH/Youth policies and implementing ARH/Youth programmes respectively, to ensure maximum and synergistic use of resources.

2. Government should expedite action on the integration of Family Planning into the benefit package of the National Health Insurance Scheme to remove the cost barrier for services, in order to promote use of sexual and reproductive health services especially by adolescents and young people.

3. We recognize the changing funding landscape and dwindling donor support as a result of the middle income status of Ghana, leading to gaps in ASRHR financing and call on Government through the Ministers of Finance, Health, Education, Youth and Sports to ring-fence budgets for adolescent health in their annual budgets to enable Ghana reap demographic dividend.

4. Government, through the Minister of Education should expedite work on the integration of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) into the school curriculum, as part of the ongoing review of the school curriculum.

5. Government through the Minister of Education should expedite work on the capacity building of teachers to effectively teach CSE, especially as we go into universal free senior high school and double – track education.

6. Parents, religious leaders and the media should support efforts by Government to integrate CSE into the school curriculum and also clarify values on adolescent sexuality.

7. Government, through the GES, GHS and NYA should expand the establishment of adolescent/youth friendly corners and integrate them into school based clinics, where sexual and reproductive health information and services with the appropriate referral linkages can be provided to all students, especially those who are sexually active.

8. Government, through the GES, GHS and NYA should promote school health clubs into all junior and senior high schools and Technical and Vocational Institutions in order to promote positive sexual and reproductive health behavior, using the life course approach to development, so that investments in early childhood is built on during adolescence.

9. We recognize the need to include persons with disabilities, including all young people in their diversity - to acknowledge their unique differences and the need to work together to design programmes and policies and strengthen existing ones to ensure a better future for the country, continent and the globe.

10. We recognize the need to make all sexual and reproductive health information and services accessible to persons with disabilities in all their diversity, and call on Government through the Ministries of Health and Education to invest in the capacity building of educators and service providers in disability and related issues to facilitate access to sexual and reproductive health information and services by persons with disabilities.

11. The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Communications, the National Youth Authority, Civil Society and NGOs should explore opportunities to use technology, including social and digital media to educate and provide accurate sexual and reproductive health information to adolescents. This provides anonymity and confidentiality. In this wise, we call on internet service providers and telecommunication companies and the private sector to support this as part of their contributions through their corporate social responsibility.

12. Government should invest in ASRHR Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning platforms, particularly for younger adolescents aged 10-14yrs to help tailor sexual and reproductive health information and services to their needs.