The Oyo State government said it had reached no less than 13,561 girls in Akinyele and Ibadan North-East local government areas with sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information during the COVID-19 pandemic, since February.
Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Muideen Olatunji, stated this at a media roundtable by his agency in collaboration with the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force with support from Society for Family Health in Ibadan. Its theme was “Meeting Adolescents and Young People’s Sexual Reproductive Health Needs during COVID-19”.
Noting that lockdown does not mean lockdown on sexual activities and its attendant effects among the old and the young, Dr Olatunji added that 4,106 girls also accessed SRH services, 2,977 took contraceptives and 151 were treated for sexually transmitted infections during the same period.
According to him, despite the rise in COVID-19 infections, the board is poised to increase services to ensure the quality of life of the younger population in the state, through all the existing primary health care facilities and networks.
The executive secretary said during the period, the board distributed Vitamin A supplements to 657 health facilities across the state, commenced food demonstration in 12 pilot ARIN support centres and 1,380 health facilities trained on COVID-19 preparedness and response.
Incident manager, Oyo State COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre, Dr Taiwo Ladipo in an update on COVID-19 between March and July stated that no age group has been exempted from the pandemic
He declared that men and individuals age 20 to 59 were those most affected by COVID-19 in Oyo State, adding that as at June “most cases were seen from Ibadan Southwest; it has taken over from Ibadan North.”
He, however, said of the 10 presenting signs and symptoms of COVID-19, individuals that experience loss of smell and taste always come back testing positive for COVID-19.
According to him, contact of individuals with COVID-19 who develop diarrhoea also always comes back positive for the infection, too.
Dr Ladipo decried the low risk perception of many people in the state and said the task force had commenced measures such as public enlightenment and increased community engagement to correct this.
Regional manager, SFH’s A360 Project, Mr Tunde Ogungbenro declared that meeting the SRH needs of adolescents became more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said adolescents are offered life building skills, sexual and reproductive health services and counselling as well as provision of youth-friendly health services to build confidence and self-esteem of adolescents through the A360 project.
Seun Taylor, A360 Young designer, said economic and social pressure, poor access to SRH information, gender-based violence, limited and unclear SRH discussions, lack of adolescent and youth-friendly services and stigma were some challenges to the attainment of good SRH by girls.
Taylor said the plight of the adolescent girl today is enormous and therefore called on the government to scale up and prioritise protecting and improving the sexual and reproductive health of adolescent girls.
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