HEALTH:GHS develops strategic plan for adolescent health
Ghana Health Service (GHS) has developed a National Strategic Plan for Adolescents and a monitoring tools document to help address the uncharacteristic health needs of young people in the country.
The seven-year strategic plan is aimed at helping to facilitate the development of adolescents and young people’s health status through the implementation of realistic measures to bring suitable solutions to their major health problem.
The plan would also serve as a platform to provide a multi-sectoral
support to every young person in the country with education and
information that will lead to the adoption of a healthy lifestyle physically, psychologically and socially.
The strategic objectives identified for the initiative, which is targeted at children between the ages of 10 to 12, include improving access to health services, increasing utilization of services, enhancing social, legal and cultural environment, improving community participation and improving management of adolescent health and development programmes.
Ghana has been involved in the World Health Organisation’s systematic approach to addressing adolescent needs with technical support from other United Nations Agencies like UNICEF and UNFPA.
Mrs Gloria Q. Asare, Director of Family Health Division, in a speech read on her behalf at the opening of a two- day workshop at Dodowa, said it was important the nation to develop a strategy to address the needs of young people in a holistic manner since they were in the majority.
She said adolescents in the country experience various health and
behavioural problems due to poor choice of food and negative patterns of eating and drinking, early initiation of sex, unprotected sexual practices and use of hard drugs.
She said these problems usually contributed to under and over nutrition, HIV and AIDS, teenage pregnancy and child bearing, unsafe
abortion, mental health problems and premature death.
“Studies also indicate that inadequate information about changes
patterns, self-care, livelihood and leadership skills among young people”, she said.
Mrs Asare said the Adolescent Health and Development initiative would focus on the integration of sexual and reproductive health, mental
health and substance use into the existing health delivery system to make health services youth-friendly.
“If this investment is done using human rights based approach, then we shall avert Sexually Transmitted Infections like HIV with other issues such as adolescent pregnancy, abortion, early marriage, physical, sexual and emotional abuse”, she stressed.
She added that the broad effects of investing in the youth would
contribute to improved health including reproductive and mental health, reduced fertility, increased education, reduced cost of medical care and avoid crime and substance use.
Mrs Asare observed that the youth were critical in attaining the
Millennium Development Goals saying “investing in the sexual and
reproductive health of young people are central for individual security
but also for reducing morbidity and mortality to improve Ghana’s
productivity and development prospects”.
She expressed hope that the initiative would help improve healthcare delivery for young people in the country.
Dr Mary Nana Ama Brantuo, Child Programme and Adolescent Health
Officer of WHO, assured United Nation’s commitment to make this programme a success for the development of the country.
The workshop organised by GHS in partnership with UNFPA was aimed to disseminate information on strategic Plan and the Young People’s
Development as well as the Standard and Tools for Monitoring Adolescents and Youth friendly health services in the country.
Topics to be discussed for the two days included the introduction to
counseling adolescents towards behaviour change, Dissemination of the content of the Ghana Multi-sectoral Adolescent Health Development strategic plan, introduction to 4S Approach and MAPM, , dissemination of the ADHA standards and discussion of ADH monitoring tools.