Agency unveils document to boost primary healthcare

Primary Health Care Facilities

Primary Health Care Facilities

AIMED at ensuring better health service delivery to the teeming youths in Nigeria, The National Adolescent and Youth Friendly Job Aids for Service Providers in Primary Health Care (PHC) Facilities in Nigeria document was recently put together by experts in health related fields.

The document produced by the Planned Parenthood Global (PP-Global) – the International division of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), with funding support from the Ford Foundation and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), provides guidance on commonly occurring adolescent and youth specific problems and concerns.

Speaking recently to journalists in Abuja on the advantages of the policy document, Country Director, Planned Parenthood Global, Dr. Francis Eremutha, said it addresses the challenges experienced by service providers attending to the several sexual health, social and developmental needs of adolescents and young people.

The job aid is intended to focus the mind of the service providers to understand that adolescents and young people’s access to the immediate and long-term remedies for the various concerns they present are, as of right and not as privilege.

“As a follow up to the national launch and training of key stakeholders on the use of the National Guidelines for Integration of Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services into Primary Health Care Facilities in Nigeria, PP Global in collaboration with government actors took the next bold step – the development of national practice protocols. Young people between the ages of 10 and 24 years constitute 33.6 per cent of Nigeria’s population.

This makes them integral to socio-political and economic development. The energy and dynamism of youth remain an asset only to the extent that they are healthy. Low quality of health care services has been known to reduce uptake of services.

The “national job aids” is hinged on the need to promote high quality health services for young people in Nigeria – in line with National Strategic documents,’’ Eremutha added.

The “national job aids” is a 95 paged document, simple in both construct and content in 21 chapters; each focusing on health thematic areas that bother on young people’s health. The job aid is presented in attractive and youth friendly colours to ensure reader appeal and has very minimal print errors.

The document is succinct and illustrative with figures and tables appropriately targeted for its intended users at the lowest level of care. He further explained ‘as a mark of national validation, the document has the signature of former Minister of State for Health and Supervising Minister of Health appended on its well written foreword.

The job aid is accompanied by a range of implementation tools including the “cue cards” – a one-paged handy desk reference that provide quick prompts, each bearing factual information and treatment guide per thematic area to address the needs of adolescent and youth client as they present at PHC facilities; a “Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) booklet” – an 18–page booklet intended for the adolescent and youth, a quick source of correct and appropriate health information on key adolescents and youth specific problems and concerns.

The icing on the cake is the “National Adolescent and Youth Friendly Health Services (AYFHS) logo” – which serves as the national brand for AYFHS in Nigeria.

It is created to draw attention by its unique and youth friendly blend of colours, its feel and its look. It depicts energy, vibrancy, beauty and health. He added that the “national job aids” – document begins with an introductory chapter which states the essence of the job aid, its intended audience, purpose and content.

This introductory chapter gives hand-on tips to providers on the principles of establishing rapport with adolescent and youth clients, explains steps in “Home, Education/Employment, Eating, Activity, Drugs, Sexuality, Safety, Suicide/Depression (HEADS)” assessment and concretizes the concept and essence of interpersonal relationship between service providers and their adolescent/youth clients.

Chapters 1 – 21, focuses respectively, on the following thematic areas; substance abuse, counselling adolescent and youth on contraception, emergency contraceptive pills, sexually transmitted infections, human immune deficiency virus, unplanned pregnancy, adolescent pubertal concerns, early marriage. Others are: mental health, malaria, intimate partner violence, rape, healthy eating, immunization, pimples, bed-wetting in the young adult, personal hygiene, masturbation, dental health, eye care, and adolescents with special needs.

Each chapter outlines basic facts for assessing, diagnosing, treating and/or referring clients for care as also frequently asked questions and answers regarding the thematic area.”

He further said the “national job aids, cue cards and FAQ booklet” unquestionably fill a gap in resource materials for the provision of adolescent and youth friendly service integration at the primary level of care, among others.

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