Government has been urged to prioritize the health needs of the youth and to design appropriate public education campaign programmes to address them.
Dr Patience Binambiba Jaman, Founder and Executive Director of Teen Health Africa (THA), an NGO dedicated to the health needs of the youth, said it was time much attention was given to the health challenges of young people, especially those in rural communities.
He told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Effiduase that young people had serious health issues such as alcoholism, drug abuse, HVI/AIDS, among others, which required attention.
“There is the need for the government and development partners to prioritize public health policies, programmes, projects, funding, among others, at the interest and well-being of the youth, who formed the majority of the population, especially in Africa and the developing countries,” she said.
Dr Jaman is leading a delegation of the NGO to tour the Sekyere East and other selected districts in the Ashanti region to assess the health needs of the youth and initiate projects to address them.
Dr Jaman, who is a Medical Practitioner, explained that most public health education had little attention on the unmet health and hygiene needs of the youth, particularly, teenage girls in rural and poverty prone communities.
She said pressing public health issues that were mostly affecting the youth and young adults, such as alcohol-related, menstruation, HIV/AIDS, drug overdoses and its abuses, as well as food and nutrition-related issues, especially in schools, required strategic prioritization and interventions to address them.
Dr Jaman said Teen Health Africa, made up of medical practitioners such doctors, pharmacists, medical laboratory scientists and nurses, have the mission to support the health, safety and wellbeing of the youth in deprived communities in Africa.
She stressed the need for strong research, integration and coordination of various state programmes to help promote and sustain the safety, health and well-being of the youth and to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality.
“There should be the augmentation of youth empowerment in health issues through mentoring, counselling and training, and others in the various deprived communities”, she noted.
Dr Jaman urged other public health-related non-governmental organizations and institutions, civil society organizations, development partners, traditional authorities, religious bodies and other stakeholders, to support the campaign to get the government to prioritize youth health care and institute pragmatic measures to address the health needs of the youth.