The Africa Health Budget Network, (AHBN), a group of African and global organisations and individuals has called for youth empowerment in decision-making and advocacy.
Dr Aminu Garba, Coordinator of the AHBN, made the call in Abuja, at the 2023 Global Forum for Adolescents, with the theme “With For Adolescents. Our future is Now”.
Garba, who is also an advocate for Adolescent and Young Persons’ well-being and development, said that youth and adolescent voices must be at the centre of decision-making processes for their health and well-being.
He said that AHBN hosted significant adolescent and youth engagement working group.
“This group consists of over 200 young individuals whose capacities are being nurtured, mentored, and strategically positioned in spaces where their voices can be heard.
“The AHBN’s approach is centred around collaboration and inclusivity, aiming to support the implementation process of existing policies and the creation of new ones,” he said.
He emphasised the importance of a collaborative Advocacy Action Plan for Women, Children, and Adolescents, which aims to harness collective efforts in driving positive change.
“Through this initiative, AHBN seeks to empower young people to actively participate in decision-making processes and advocate for their rights.
“Furthermore, AHBN is fully committed to the finalization and validation of the RMCAEH+N (Reproductive, Maternal, Child, Adolescent, Elderly, and Newborn Health) strategy,” he said.
According to him, this strategy focuses on comprehensive healthcare for all age groups, with a specific emphasis on the needs and well-being of adolescents and young people.
He said that AHBN aims to provide support and implementation assistance to ensure the successful execution of this strategy.
Also speaking, Mrs Oyeyemi Pitan, the Executive Director at Gem Hub Initiative underscored the importance of investing in the health and well-being of adolescents and the commitment to creating a brighter and healthier future for the nation.
Pitan highlighted the need for collaboration among stakeholders and active participation of adolescents to improve adolescent health.
She painted a vision of a future where every young person can reach their full potential, and the health and well-being of adolescents are a lasting legacy.
She emphasised the commitment to ensure that no adolescent is left behind and that their health and well-being were a top priority in the country.
In his contribution, Master Ayogu Somtochuwku of the Libery Prefect Government Secondary School in Kuje,FCT, said that he wants to voice to be heard and to make a difference.
Somtochuwku said that by participating, he would be sharing his thoughts and opinions not just with his colleagues, but also with decision-makers who can use the information to advocate for change in the country.
He said that the feedback provided by policymakers would be converted into valuable data that can be analyzed using an interactive dashboard and visualization tools.
During the event, 100 young people voiced their demands and dreams in the What Young People Want in the country.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), of the 7.2 billion people worldwide, over three billion are younger than 25 years, making up 42 per cent of the world population.
The WHO also said that around 1.2 billion of these young people are adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years.