Fellow: Khadija Abdulkarim
Grant Year: 2019
Location: Kaduna State, Nigeria
Organization: Population and Reproductive Health Initiative (PRHI)
Project title: Advocacy for a Policy on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Kaduna State
Project summary: Adolescents between 10 and 19 years of age comprise 33% of the total population of Kaduna State and are at higher risk for maternal mortalities and morbidities, including vesicovaginal fistula, unsafe abortion, female genital mutilation, and drug abuse. Although there is a National Policy on the Health and Development of Adolescent and Young People in Nigeria, this policy has not been adapted to be implemented in Kaduna state. Population and Reproductive Health Initiative (PRHI) seeks to improve adolescent girls’ health and development across the state by advocating for the adaptation of the national policy, with a focus on adolescent sexual and reproductive health. They will ensure the adapted policy acknowledges the biological and social needs of adolescents, addresses the information gaps adolescents face, and enables adolescents to access the services and information they need. PRHI will mobilize government and non-governmental agencies in Kaduna State, such as the Ministries of Health, Education, and Women Affairs, the executive governor, the first lady of Kaduna State, local civil society organizations working with girls, and the Action Group on Adolescent Health at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital to develop sustainable programs and interventions to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents. They will advocate for key provisions of the policy to focus on increasing the proportion of adolescents that have access to comprehensive adolescent health information, expanding access to adolescent reproductive health services, and promoting youth-friendly adolescent health services at the primary health care level. They will develop a communication strategy that targets community leaders and policymakers and includes segmented behavior change communications interventions. Once implemented in Kaduna State, the National Policy on the Health and Development of Adolescent and Young People will protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of more than 360,000 girls from 10-19 years of age across the state.