13,561 information on sexual and reproductive health consulted in Oyo

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The Oyo state government said it had reached as many as 13,561 girls in the local government areas of Akinyele and Ibadan in the northeast with information on sexual and reproductive health (SSR ) during the COVID-19 pandemic, since February.

The Executive Secretary of the Oyo State Primary Health Care Council, Dr Muideen Olatunji, said at a media roundtable hosted by his agency in conjunction with the COVID-19 task force of Oyo State with the support of the Society for Family Health in Ibadan. Its theme was “Meeting the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Adolescents and Youth During COVID-19”.

Noting that lockdown does not mean lockout of sexual activities and its effects on the elderly and young, Dr Olatunji added that 4,106 girls have also accessed SRH services, 2,977 have taken contraceptives and 151 were treated for sexually transmitted infections during the same time period.

Despite the increase in COVID-19 infections, he said, the board is set to increase services to ensure the quality of life for the state’s younger population, across all facilities and existing primary health care networks.

The executive secretary said that during the period, the board distributed vitamin A supplements to 657 health facilities across the state, began a dietary demonstration at 12 pilot ARIN support centers and 1 380 health facilities trained in COVID-19 preparedness and response.

Incident Director, Oyo State COVID-19 Emergency Operation Center, Dr Taiwo Ladipo in an update on COVID-19 between March and July said no age group has been exempted from the pandemic

He said men and people aged 20 to 59 were most affected by COVID-19 in Oyo state, adding that in June “most of the cases were seen in the southwest Ibadan; he took over from Ibadan North.

He said, however, that out of the 10 signs and symptoms of COVID-19, individuals who experience loss of smell and taste always come back positive for COVID-19.

According to him, contact with individuals with COVID-19 who develop diarrhea also always comes back positive for the infection.

Dr Ladipo spoke out against the perceived low risk of many in the state and said the task force has started measures such as public education and increased community engagement to correct this.

SFH’s A360 Regional Project Director, Mr Tunde Ogungbenro, said meeting the SRH needs of adolescents has become more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said adolescents are offered life-building skills, sexual and reproductive health services and counseling as well as youth-friendly health services to build adolescent confidence and self-esteem through the project. A360.

Seun Taylor, A360 Young designer, said that economic and social pressure, lack of access to information on SRH, gender-based violence, limited and unclear SRH discussions, lack of suitable services for adolescents and youth and stigma were challenges to achieving good SRH for girls.

Taylor said the plight of today’s adolescent girl is enormous and therefore called on the government to step up and prioritize the protection and improvement of adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

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