Green Paper on Adolescent Health Policy launched

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A Green Paper on the state of Adolescent Health Policy in Ghana has advocated the urgent need to address the health, social, and economic challenges confronting adolescents in Tamale and Ashaiman cities.

It has also advocated the need to formulate Adolescent-led Policies that create a safe and supportive environment for adolescents to have access to appropriate information and materials through counselling, in their development and well-being.

The document, developed by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) at the University of Ghana, was launched in Tamale as part of activities to celebrate this year’s International Youth Day (IYD).

It was developed as part of the Healthy Cities for Adolescents (HCA) project, which is being implemented in Tamale and Ashaiman cities by the RIPS in partnership with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly with funding from the Fondation Botnar from Switzerland.

The HCA amongst others seeks to build a multi-stakeholder consortium with capacity to use evidence-based information for strategic programming that promotes adolescent health and general well-being towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals.

The IYD is celebrated on August 12, every year, to bring youth issues to the attention of the international community and to celebrate the potential of the youth as active partners in the global society.

The document said “Many policies, strategies and legislative instruments have been enacted in Ghana, aiming to impact on adolescents and young people and in various dimensions, the Child and Welfare Policy, National Nutrition Policy for Ghana, Ghana National Social Protection Policy amongst others.”

It said “Almost all the existing policies have limitations regarding the general well-being and health of the adolescent as the focus has been predominantly on their sexual and reproductive rights”.

It said “Research undertaken by RIPS with its partners sheds light on how the existing policy frameworks are not meeting the emerging needs of adolescents and youth in Ghana, and the call to have more responsive approaches with a holistic adolescent health policy”.

The document called on stakeholders to ensure that policy formulation considered the heterogeneity of the adolescents to embrace all facets of adolescent development and the demographics.

Professor Ayaga Bawa, Acting Director of RIPS, who spoke during the launch of the document to commemorate this year’s International Youth Day in Tamale, called for young people to be given the opportunity to lead the charge to address the challenges facing them.

Professor Bawa said “Additionally, there are several challenges at the Cities’ level, which threaten the lifestyle and future of our younger population, and one of the ways to address these challenges is to give the young people themselves the opportunity to lead the charge”.

She said “Subsequently, we have chosen as part of the celebration of the IYD to launch a Discussion Document or a Green Paper on the state of Adolescent Health Policy in Ghana to strengthen the case for the relevance of engaging young people in policies that affect them.”

Miss Najat Jibreel, a student, on behalf of all adolescents, said “Elders should help by listening to our ideas, because sometimes our ideas just need a little attention, and they will become great contribution to development. There is no better attempt than to have a policy to give direction and guidance to young people and stakeholders so that we have a clear outline and definition for adolescents and their needs separated from those of children or youth.”

Mr Gilbert Nuuri-Teg, Tamale Metropolitan Coordinating Director called on young people to let their voices be heard, especially when they attended public events to help in designing policies to address their concerns.

He further called on them to support efforts to protect the environment for the benefit of all.

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