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Adolescent health, nutrition conference held in Tamale

A conference on Adolescent Health and Nutrition has been held to discuss major factors influencing this group and other youth-friendly health services in the Northern Region. It would further discuss the lessons regarding access and utilisation of t...


A conference on Adolescent Health and Nutrition has been held to discuss major factors influencing this group and other youth-friendly health services in the Northern Region.

It would further discuss the lessons regarding access and utilisation of these services, identify and agree on key interventions for implementation at the facility, sub-district, district, and regional levels.

This is to improve adolescent and youth-friendly services as well as stimulate action and engagement of adolescents and young people at the regional and local levels to shape the agenda for action for adolescents.

The two-day conference was organised by the Northern Regional Health Directorate with support from Norsaac, Savana Signatures, United Nations Children Fund amongst other partners, and attended by various stakeholders in the health sector including some adolescents in the region.

It was on the theme: ‘Bridging the Care Gap in Adolescent Service Delivery: The Role of Communities and Service Providers’.

Dr Abdulai Abuk
ari, the Northern Regional Director of Health, said even though there had been a slight improvement in nutrition indicators, Ghana still faced a triple burden of malnutrition, which are the co-existence of wasting (too thin for age), stunting (too short for age), overweight, obesity and micronutrient deficiencies.

He said women and adolescents faced all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and a care gap of lack of access to comprehensive and uninterrupted health care services, resulting in high rates of school dropout, increasing unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and child marriages.

Dr Abukari, said this underscored why the Ghana Health Service, was proud and happy to organise the conference to project adolescent health and nutrition interventions in the region and to solicit the support of all stakeholders for the wellbeing of adolescents.

He said there was the need to formulate goals for the healthy development of adolescents linked to the sexual and reproductive health, communicable and no
n-communicable disease agenda, adding that effective preventive interventions and access to treatment and care services was needed for scaled up.

He said the Regional Health Directorate had made adolescent health one of its flagship programmes to foster the implementation of evidence-based interventions to guide, and support districts to deliver interventions for a greater number of adolescents.

He said key among the interventions included the adolescent SafetyNet programme, Iron Folic Acid Supplementation, Nutrition-Friendly School Initiative (fruits and vegetable day, egg day, the smart school) among others.

Dr Abukari entreated stakeholders to continue their support for the Region’s adolescents targeted health programmes, ‘So that together, we can empower our youth, equip them with the knowledge and resilience needed to make positive choices, and inspire them to actively shape their own destinies.’

Mr Mohammed Awal Alhassan, the Executive Director, Norsaac, who co-chaired the conference, called on all
stakeholders to ensure the creation of safe spaces where young people could freely access the health care they deserved.

Mr Alhassan said ‘Norsaac addresses this through the Promotion of Adolescent Safe Spaces and Power to Choose projects across nine districts in the Northern, North East, Upper East and Savannah Regions.

The Adolescent Safe Spaces initiative has demonstrated that when young people, specifically teenagers, are given the chance, they open and discuss issues concerning their social, mental, and sexual growth.’

Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, the Northern Regional Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf, said it was a collective and shared responsibility on the part of all stakeholders to ensure that they gave adolescents the support, guidance and care they required to successfully navigate the crucial phase of adolescence.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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