Health Matters Incorporated (HMI)

Fellow: Damilola Elizabeth Aboluwarin

Grant Year: 2019

Location: Apapa and Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government Areas, Lagos State, Nigeria

Organization: Health Matters Incorporated (HMI)

Project title: Mainstreaming Friendly and Comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Health Services for Girls and Young Women into Primary Health Care Centers in Lagos State Using 2 Primary Health Care Facilities in Apapa and Ajeromi/Ifelodun as Model Clinics

Project summary: Sexual and reproductive health services for girls and young women are not available in most primary health care facilities in Lagos State. Health Matters Incorporated (HMI) aims to make comprehensive and girl-friendly sexual reproductive health services mainstream for girls and young women in health care facilities to improve health outcomes. There are many factors that contribute to this gap in health services, including the lack of adequately trained staff in primary health care facilities, inequitable gender norms and discrimination from communities and service providers, socio-cultural barriers such as cultural norms and stigma against young women and girls’ sexuality, and a lack of knowledge or limited information on sexual and reproductive health. Over the last decade, the Nigerian government passed two policies seeking to promote the optimal health and development of youth and to address the poor coordination between adolescent reproductive health services and the regular health service delivery at the state level. Despite these two policies, recent findings on Lagos State’s reproductive health, family planning, gender, and population show that the number of girls and young women visiting primary health care facilities has dropped significantly, especially in the Apapa and Ajeromi Local Government Areas. Those who visited and received maternal and child-related services were mainly older (25 years and above), as it is generally believed that primary health care facilities are solely for mothers and their babies.

Health Matters Incorporated will advocate for the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board to mainstream girl-friendly and comprehensive sexual reproductive health services for girls and young women, without discrimination and judgment, into preexisting services at two facilities in Apapa and Ajeromi/Ifelodun. To achieve this, HMI will create effective partnerships, advocate with local and state level decision makers, build the capacity of health workers, and train 50 youth on sexual and reproductive health and rights education. HMI aims to enable 5,000 girls and young women to access friendly and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services at the two model clinics within the first year. If successful, approximately 20,000 girls and young women in Apapa and Ajeromi/Ifelodun will be able to benefit from friendly and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.