ADOLESCENT AND YOUTH SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
Making adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health a public health priority is a key area of intervention in the reduction of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent mortality.
In West and Central Africa, adolescents (aged 10-19) represent 22% of the population. The pregnancy rate among adolescents in the region is more than twice the global average. More than one in ten girls aged 15 to 19 gives birth.
Problems linked to sexual and reproductive health make up 17% of the causes of death in adolescents. In Togo, a study carried out in schools with clinics revealed that 82% of students did not know that a girl could get pregnant the first time she had sexual intercourse.
The French Muskoka Fund is working to improve adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health information and management services (mobile strategy, detection and management of STIs/HIV and cervical cancer, improving school clinics, incorporating adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health care into health education, improving youth center capabilities, preventing early marriage and other forms of gender-based violence).
Advocating the implementation of a joint intervention framework at regional level to prevent early pregnancy and marriage.
Providing updated data and capitalizing on experiences.
Technical support to help implement AYSRH measures and improve communication tools.
DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FIRST JOINT REGIONAL FRAMEWORK TO HELP PREVENT EARLY PREGNANCY
A joint adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health intervention framework was launched in 2015 by the four French Muskoka Fund agencies through the setting up of an ad hoc working committee.
Its main goal is to help reduce early pregnancies among girls in school and out of school in the target countries through high-impact interventions at a regional and national level: setting up sexual and reproductive health services (including family planning) in schools and outside of schools, developing a safe environment in which young people can achieve their potential, helping to sustainably change social habits and introducing laws that are more favorable to girls, particularly those in vulnerable situations.
TECHNICAL SUPPORT BASED ON THE LATEST EVIDENCE
Completion of four baseline studies in partnership with Équilibres et Population (Benin, Mali, Niger and Togo).
Technical support to countries along with close monitoring to orient activities more towards adolescent and youth reproductive health and increase the funding to inter-agency annual work programs.
Joint regional workshop on adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health on the topic: “Reducing early pregnancy in West and Central Africa: Overview, outlook and key interventions in terms of the health and sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents and young people.”
Production of 8 country data sheets on adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health.
Assistance with producing the ‘That’s Life!’ television series, a key tool for promoting adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health to adolescents and young people.
PRODUCTION OF TECHNICAL REFERENCE DOCUMENTS AND DOCUMENTATION OF PROMISING PRACTICES
The production of technical documents and documentation of promising practices on the two related topics of comprehensive sexuality education and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health. Comprehensive sexuality education coupled with the availability of easy-to-use health services for young people constitutes a high-quality offering for adolescents and young people.
SOME OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The French Muskoka Fund has helped its four agencies implement a joint strategy: technical documents have been produced and promising practices documented on the two related topics of comprehensive sexuality education and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health.
In 2019, three main types of interventions were implemented in the countries supported by the French Muskoka Fund:
– Setting up sexual and reproductive health services in schools and outside of schools and establishing access to comprehensive sexuality education.
– Awareness sessions and conferences/debates on gender-based violence.
– Activities undertaken on hygiene management and menstrual health.
Benin: In 2019, thanks to the French Muskoka Fund and other funding, 168 female community representatives received further skills training on preventing anemia and menstrual hygiene management as part of promoting adolescent wellbeing. These female community representatives will now include adolescent follow-up as part of their home visits, in addition to following up children under five.
Cote d’Ivoire: in 2019, the French Muskoka Fund substantially contributed to the dissemination and supervision of comprehensive sexuality education classes entitled “life lessons”, targeting all schools and reaching 676,131 new students, broken down as follows: 63.9% of elementary students and 71.4% of high school students.
Togo: Since 2014, about 100,000 adolescents and young people have been educated every year, and the inclusion of contraceptive services in youth centers, schools and villages has helped bring modern contraceptive methods to about 3,000 young women aged between 15 and 24, with more than 3,000 STIs being detected and treated every year. Results: the number of pregnancies has noticeably reduced and the school dropout rate due to pregnancy has decreased by 30%. 50% of the students questioned said that they had benefitted from the services provided by school clinics.
Guinea: the availability of AYSRH services has significantly increased since 2012, rising from 10 facilities providing sexual and reproductive health services for young people to 76 facilities in 2017. Services provided: public health facilities; health facilities managed by an NGO/CSO to create a welcoming space for adolescents and young people; school and university clinics; family planning and HIV campaigns.
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