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13.02.2006 Health

YFS programme makes breakthroughs in Ghana


Kumasi, Feb. 13, GNA - The integration of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) into the pre-service curricula for nurses and midwives and into the health delivery systems of faith-based organizations are the two major breakthroughs in the Youth Friendly Service (YFS) programme of the African Youth Alliance (AYA) and Pathfinder International in Ghana. In addition to the partnership with Ghana Health Service (GHS), the AYA/Pathfinder work has widened the coverage of health services to a larger population of young people throughout the country. This was contained in an evaluation report of the YSF component of the AYA programme presented by Dr Robert Mensah, National Programme Officer of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) and United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) at a dissemination meeting with stakeholders in Kumasi.

Dr Mensah, who was the former Co-ordinator of AYA, said the programme had left a legacy of trained teams of assessors, who would conduct re-assessment on health facilities now that the AYA programme has ended.

He said, in Ghana, AYA was launched in April 2001 and with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the programme was administered through the US Committee for the UNFPA. He said it sought to improve overall Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections of the youth in four African countries; Ghana, Botswana, Tanzania and Uganda.

Dr Mensah said though the programme ended last year, it would be continued, emphasizing that challenges to be addressed in future included the need for further financial and technical support for Ghana Health Service to fully implement YFS action plans at its facilities and the expansion of YFS in Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), while sustaining YFS where it had already been established. Mr Emmanuel Boadi, Programme/Technical Officer of Pathfinder, in a case study report on the evaluation of the report, called for government and Christian Health Association of Ghana collaboration to ensure sufficient coverage of YFS in the country.

He asked for absolute care to be taken in identifying all barriers to integration and development of strategies, while the facilitating factors must also be identified.

Madam Salamatu Futa, Assistant Programme Officer, Pathfinder, in another case study report, urged AYA/Pathfinder to capitalize on its successes and assist other member councils in West Africa to implement similar projects.

She also suggested that Pathfinder continued to monitor the activities of the programme and provide technical support when requested.