May 29, 2024

How youth groups in Africa are changing the health of women and girls

Every 120 seconds, a female passes away as a result of the process of carrying or giving birth, while a minor or young person passes away every 4.4 seconds on a worldwide scale.

Every 120 seconds, a female passes away as a result of the process of carrying or giving birth, while a minor or young person passes away every 4.4 seconds on a worldwide scale.

Mary Chikwanda in Zimbabwe

Every 120 seconds, a female passes away as a result of the process of carrying or giving birth, while a minor or young person passes away every 4.4 seconds on a worldwide scale. A vast majority of fatalities happen in lower and middle-income nations, with Sub-Saharan Africa being most affected by this calamity. I have witnessed the loss of mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, and friends behind these numerical figures. Unfortunately health of women and girls, face a large number of fatalities result from avoidable circumstances.

The advancements achieved in the past years are now in danger, thus jeopardizing our capability to attain both universal health care and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The existing worldwide situation is disquieting. Although I attempt to maintain a positive outlook, I am uncertain about how Africa, with an anticipated population of 407 million women capable of reproduction by 2030, will guarantee fair distribution of high-quality medical care to these women. This task must also be accomplished while dealing with a variety of issues such as health, economic, climate, nutritional, and conflict crises. Although resources are limited and decisions need to be made, these choices should not come at the expense of countless lives that could be spared through political determination and appropriate investments.

Improving the fairness of health systems.

As the world focuses on numerous global crises, it is crucial to bear in mind the severe consequences of the pandemic on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African women and girls. To attain better health results for females, we possess all the proof and comprehensively understand that investing more in developing health systems that are impartial and accessible to the most neglected communities is crucial.

It is essential to maintain a focus on the health of teenage girls. To establish productive and long-lasting health care systems for youngsters, it is imperative to collaborate and motivate them to take action. Through collaboration with entities like the GFF and the World Bank, we can prioritize the inclusion of young individuals in national endeavors aimed at fortifying healthcare systems that are capable of addressing the unique requirements of adolescents.

Encouraging young individuals to gather resources to improve the health of women and girls.

The Youth Alliance for Reproductive Health and Family Planning, was given the authority to establish a community-driven system of accountability in Senegal. This ingenious digital device facilitates collaboration among young individuals, healthcare professionals, and community residents to guarantee the delivery of superior healthcare services, comprising Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), to the underprivileged.

In a span of twelve months, the youth went from being excluded in policy talks to securing two seats in the nearby health commission and playing a role in the allocation of local funds. Consequently, an amount of $6,500 was allocated by the municipality of Sédhiou to establish secure areas for teenagers and facilitate discussions within the community to combat early marriage. The funding will be utilized for constructing schools’ water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to support adolescent girls in attending school during their menstrual cycle.

The Thietty municipality has designated $4,000 towards improving adolescent health and $16,000 towards obtaining valuable ultrasound equipment and necessary medications. This funding aims to positively impact over 1,400 women who are of reproductive age.

Although it may appear insignificant, the mere sum can serve as a crucial resource for numerous young girls within the vicinity. This underscores the significance of enabling young people to make their voices heard in settings where they are typically overlooked, providing them with an opportunity to effect profound positive changes.

Unleashing further financial resources.

The actions we have taken have been recognized, as our colleagues in other GFF partner nations such as Madagascar and Uganda are also adopting similar approaches. We are determined to keep going beyond this point. This marks the initiation of a more extensive endeavor to obtain additional pledges and release more monetary support for the well-being of women and girls.

The advantageous demographic trend in our continent should not be disregarded and our participation and commitment are not only necessary for shaping policies, but also vital for guaranteeing long-term success. In present times, a concerted endeavor supported by greater financial resources can prove instrumental in giving prominence to women and girls’ well-being and expediting gender parity. The obstacles are significant, and even though the most recent information is problematic, I consider it an opportunity to increase our investments and actively involve both communities and young individuals.

Once more, I would like to emphasize that Africa will possess 407 million women who are capable of reproduction by the year 2030. By offering them education and the choice of family planning, we can not only preserve their lives but also enable them to contribute positively to society, ultimately resolving various global crises. I will surely belong to that group.