Adolescents are most at risk from contracting HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases and infections, says AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria, Country Director, Echey Ijezie. Ijezie who made the statement, Thursday in Abuja at AHF – Nigeria, commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child tagged “Empowered Girls: Brighter Future,” said that it is because they are more likely to engage in “risky behaviours”.
The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated globally every year on the 11th of October. IJezie called on parents, teachers and the broader stakeholders in Nigeria to engage with adolescent on sexual and reproductive health issues. He said, WHO defines adolescent as people between the ages of 10 to 24 years old – “and this age is important because it is characterised by rapid physical growth and development as well as sexual maturation and also risky behaviours”.
He said, “It is our hope at AHF to create an important platform for young girls to discuss issues relating to their well-being and these issues include reproductive health and rights as well as seeking contributions from stakeholders. This period of adolescent is also important because it is a period that is marked by the need to try out new things such as sex experimentation with drugs and many more”. “It is important for us at AHF to engage with youth on sexual and reproductive health issues, give proper information, empower girls, provide the services and make the services available to bridge the gaps that abound and ensure that everybody life is saved.”
Also speaking, Isah Ahmadu, who represented the director of the Department of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, said he was overwhelmed by the participation of students in the programme. He stressed that there is a need for improved hygiene in the environmental learning centres for students. The event which was attended by students drawn across schools in the FCT, had representative of the schools making presentations on topics related sexual reproductive health.