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[Niger] – Improving access to better sexual and reproductive health care for young people

4 February 2020

NIGERADVOCACYSexual and Reproductive Health

 

Solthis, in partnership with the NGOs Lafia Matassa and Equilibres & Populations, officially launched the second phase of the  project JADES dedicated to improve the sexual and reproductive health among for the youth and adolescents in Niger. This second phase comes to consolidate the achievements of the first one and to reinforce the advocacy for young people sexual and reproductive rights and health in Niger, especially young women, who are more exposed to specific vulnerabilities: early marriages, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV/AIDS new infections which are proportionally higher than among young men.

 

“Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and care enable young people to make informed choices about their health. “A.K., Peer Educator

 

A project in line with the international agenda to reduce new HIV/STI infections and unwanted pregnancies

According to UNAIDS data, young people between 15 to 24 years old account for 39% of all new HIV infections among adults in West Africa. Vulnerability is particularly pronounced among young girls, who account for nearly two-thirds of new HIV infections among adolescents aged 15 to 19.

In Niger, nearly 70% of the population is under 25 years of age and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among young people is 1%, compared to 0.7% in the general population. Youth therefore represents a strategic challenge in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially since the risk of infection is increased by limited knowledge of STI/HIV, a lack of access to quality health information, socio-cultural factors related to taboos around sexuality, gender inequalities, the limited place of young people in society, and a limited demand and supply of SRH (sexual and reproductive health) care which is not adapted to the needs of young people.

 

An engaged youth for sexual and reproductive health and rights

From 2016 to 2019, the first phase of the project enabled young people to be at the heart of the prevention process and to create an open dialogue with their social environment for sustainable change in sexual and reproductive health in Mali and Niger. At the end of the three years, the youth in the targeted areas are more comfortable in understanding their sexual and reproductive health and rights. In the health centres targeted by the first phase, young people benefit from better care and less stigmatization thanks to the training and awareness-raising work on the needs of young people.

  • 21,689 young people sensitized by peer-educators since 2016, in Mali and Niger.
  • 67 young leaders trained in peer-education.
  • 29,899 young people sensitized and 6,600 tested to know their HIV status.
  • 198 health workers and 158 community leaders trained in SRH
  • 1,661 parents of students sensitized

 

“I was informed to come and sensitize other girls. It’s very important for me because I came out of ignorance, I know what I want, and I know how to educate my children in the future”.

“In the past, young people were marginalized. Through capacity building (of health workers) for better reception and SSR care, young people now have access to quality care, they are more comfortable, they come to health centres more often. These centres are more responsive to their needs and have adapted their schedules. “A.D., Doctor

 

A social, political and medical approach for the project’ s 2nd phase

The second phase of the project aims to consolidate the capacity of young people to be actors of their own health, while strengthening the care systems in the targeted areas and improving the social and political environment.

The project’s aim is  to fight new HIV/STI infections and unwanted pregnancies through a multi-channel strategy, combining: the information and training of young people on their sexual and reproductive health, the promotion of their sexual and reproductive rights, the strengthening and adaption of SRH care services to the needs of young people the project’ s targeted health centers, and through the mobilization of social and political key actors, who are often obstacles to the access of care and change. This multi-channel approach will ultimately empower young people to take action for their health and create a favourable climate for future generations.

Following the first phase’ s activities which focused on peer-education, dialogue and community mobilization, this second phase comes, in particular, to build a collective leadership of young people to call on and engage authorities to change the public policies in favour of the rights and quality sexual and reproductive health care for young people in Niger.

 


This second phase of the JADES project is funded by the French Agency of Developement (AFD) and the Paris City Council for 3 years. It is implemented by Solthis in partnership with the NGOs Lafia Matassa and Equipop, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health in Niger as well as health and community structures offering SRH services.

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