Sterling One Foundation Partners Japan International Cooperation on health workers’ training
Sterling One Foundation has formed a new partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Nigeria.
This partnership, supported by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), kicked off in Abuja with a two-day sensitisation workshop on adolescent sexual and reproductive health for nurses, midwives, and members of the Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS) programme from Karu LGA, in Nasarawa State.
Research shows that the age-specific fertility rate in the 15-19 age group is about 106 per 1,000 women, with this rate being higher in rural areas than urban areas.
Unfortunately, childbearing at such a young age is associated with an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth and a higher neonatal mortality rate.
The multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (’16-’17) found that 19.2 percent of young women aged 15-19 had started having children, with 3.1 percent of women giving birth before they were 15.
The emergence of this problem has been attributed to various factors, including early exposure to causal sexual activity, early marriage, rural community living, low social-economic status, peer pressure, lack of sex education and others.
Yet too many young people face barriers to reproductive health information and care. Even those able to find accurate information about their health may be unable to access the services needed to protect their health.
Mrs Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO of the Sterling One Foundation, while shedding more light on this partnership, described it as a crucial part of healthcare reform in Nigeria, explaining that having the right hands always makes a huge difference in any system.
“Health is one of the five focus areas for us at the Sterling One Foundation, and part of our goals is to make quality healthcare more accessible, and we can’t achieve that if the point of access for most Nigerians, which is the primary healthcare centres, is not up to par, that’s why this partnership is significant. It represents our commitment to improving the efficiency of health workers, and in turn, impacting the quality of life of the people they serve,” she said.
For Sterling One Foundation’s partner, JICA, the rising prevalence of teenage pregnancies, unplanned births and sexually transmitted infections in Nigeria poses an immediate concern, which they hope the workshops under this partnership can begin to address by equipping health workers with the right information and tips that can help cut down on the over 200,000 unplanned births attributed to teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19, especially in Northern Nigeria.
The two-day pilot workshop, which took place in Abuja, featured sessions on pregnancy prevention, contraceptives, prevention of sexually transmitted infections in adolescents, personal hygiene and general adolescent-friendly health care delivery.