16 YEAR OLD GIRL MENTORING OTHER GIRLS – LAUNCHES AN “ALL GIRLS MUST GO TO SCHOOL PROJECT ”

In Nigeria, it is estimated that 23% of women aged 15-19years have begun childbearing and 32% of teenagers in rural areas have become young mothers, according to the Demographic Health Survey of 2013. One of the focal points of discussion at the just concluded family planning conference in Nigeria which took place on the 3rd – 6th of December, 2018 in Nigeria is the prevention of teenage pregnancy and promotion of adolescent reproductive health rights.

Youth and Adolescents were given the opportunity to speak up about their health needs so policymakers can put in place services to meet these needs. As part of efforts to make visible the works of young people making an impact in their communities, 5 young people shared their innovative work as it relates to reproductive health needs of adolescents and young persons. The youngest of them, to give a pitch about her work was 16 years old, Peace Ayo Adegbola. It was heartwarming seeing this young determined girl doing something to make the lives of others better.

Peace giving a pitch about her work with girls in her community.

Peace Adegbola is a role model to other adolescent girls in her community. She equips girls with life skills and information necessary to curb teenage pregnancy. She shared the story of her journey into becoming girls advocate in this interview with me.

A.A: Tell us your name

Peace: My name is Peace Ayo Adegbola

A.A: So are you a student?

Peace: Yes I’m a student. I just wrote my WAEC, waiting for admission into the university. I am a girl advocate and I’m 16 years old.

A.A: What steered you up in that direction?

Peace & Her Dad

Peace: My daddy works with Society for family health and so he goes to rural communities to educate these young girls about the importance of family planning. Sometimes he normally takes me along. When I go to these communities I find that the majority of these adolescent girls are not in school. Boys are going to school and a majority of the girls are at home. I was just 10 years old so I started asking questions, became anxious and wanted to do something about this. I felt like if a 10year old girl Like me is outspoken, I wanted other girls to be too and I decided to be an advocate. And my dad inspired me, the communities I have been to and what the girls are passing through.

A.A: That was how you started the girls club?

Peace sharing her story in a quick interview with Adebisi

Peace: The girls club actually started as a self-esteem session with the girls. I launched a project on “All Girls must go to School” which targeted girls that are not in school to ensure that these girls go to school. We have about 200 girls are now in school as a result and come this September more girls will be enrolled. I needed a sustainability plan to keep these girls in school. I found out that something so simple as self-esteem makes them drop out of school. So I created a small group where I talk to these young girls. At first, it was just the girls we were sponsoring to school.

A.A: How are you funding this sponsorship?

Peace: Strong Enough Girls are my key partners, Youth Hub Africa, and so many partners and some individuals that buy into the idea.

A.A: Going forward where do you see this? Are you intending to fully make a career of development work?

Peace: Yes! Because my partner, who happens to be my dad, and I currently jointly own an organization. It is something I want to do for life; it’s something that even though I do other things, this is one thing I will never leave. This is service to humanity and girls like me. I believe so much in their potentials.

A.A: Your advice for girls, adults and especially parents.

Peace: My advice to young girls is that there is time for everything; take it one step at a time. And if you have made some mistakes don’t use it to judge yourself or pull yourself back. The thing about making mistakes or falling down is for you to know the right way to take. My advice to parents is that they should have a close relationship with their kids and to actually open up. Tell them about sexual reproductive issues. Talk to your child about hygiene, menstrual hygiene. Do not code things and give wrong information, for example, say that “if a boy touches you, you will get pregnant, No! Tell them that it is sex that gets a girl pregnant. Prepare them so they will make the right choices.

Adolescent and youth health needs is a must attend to.

Someone mentored Peace Aydegbola right and now she, in turn, has become a mentor and role model to other girls in her community, nipping teenage pregnancy in the bud and inspiring girls to go to and finish school.

One person can make a huge difference

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

The Public hearing of the Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal Services Bill, 2017

According to World Health Organization(WHO) Sexual and reproductive health and rights encompass efforts to eliminate preventable, maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health services including contraceptive services, and to address sexually transmitted Infections (STI) and cervical cancer, violence against women and girls and sexuality and reproductive health needs of adolescents.

The Public hearing of the Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal Services Bill, 2017 held on Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at the Western Hall, Oyo State House of Assembly Secretariat, Ibadan.

 The basic reason for a public hearing is to elevate a democratic procedure for adopting laws involving the people in lawmaking and achieving a more complete implementation of the oversight functions, increase transparency of the work of the legislators – Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly.

Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo, Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly and other legislators at the public hearing.

The Bill had gone through the 1st and 2nd reading and is on its way to been passed into law. The Speaker of the Oyo state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju alongside other lawmakers, top government officials, the Attorney General –Barr. Seun Abimbola, and commissioner for Justice and other stakeholders from, Ministry of health, The Nigerian Bar Association, Medical practitioners, NGOs, religious organizations, Association of traditional birth attendants, Civil societies, and others attended the public hearing in order to make their contributions towards improving the Bill.

Hon. S.O Okunlola, the Chairman, Committee on Health in his welcome address said that the aim of the Bill is to promote and protect the right of people of Oyo state especially women to enable them to have access to reproductive health and adequate maternity services. He stated further that, “for any reasonable government, the health of citizens should be a priority as such the health policy of government at federal and state and local government levels should be in tandem with international best practices”.

Deliberations at the public hearing were aimed at having a sustainable framework for reproductive health and maternal care services in Oyo state through a legislation.

The Bill is a private members bill which was sponsored and brought to the attention of the legislators who received it with open arms. It is intended to complement the efforts of the executive arm of government in the state in the area of providing quality healthcare to the people in the state. Hon. Okunlola assured all stakeholders present at the public hearing that the memoranda compiled and submitted will be painstakingly looked into in order to come out with an implementable document.

A cross section of stakeholders at the public hearing.

The Import of the Bill was presented by Hon. Mrs. B.O Oladeji, Chairperson, Committee on Women Affairs, Community Development, Social Welfare, and Poverty Alleviation.

“It has been observed that most women do not have access to adequate reproductive health and maternal care services in the state, as a result, many women suffer complications during childbirth which in turn contributes to increased maternal mortality. This bill intends to promote and protect the rights of women in having access to adequate reproductive health and maternal care services in the state. It also intends to put in place a structure for upholding standards and monitoring maternal care services provided in the state and Local government levels. It intends to promote women’s health, safe motherhood and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rate amongst our women. Sections in the bill provide for the establishment of committees to monitor the level of antenatal and postnatal care as well as activities of health care providers in the state and local governments. Clause 8 of the bill provides major standards and regulations of which health care providers need to comply with and there are equally penalties for contraventions. It is believed that this bill will go a long way in improving the health of women in terms of putting in place regulations and standard for monitoring, provision of family planning and provision of safe healthcare services in Oyo state”.

One of the stakeholders the State Team Lead (NURHI) Oyo state, Mrs. Stella Akinso in her contribution to the memoranda had this to  say:

“Women of reproductive of age by definition starts from 15 -49 which means young people who are sexually active have been factored in. Young people need access to quality family planning and maternity services. This Bill will become ineffective without budgetary allocation and release for the implementation. There is also the need for the provision of adequate human capital (skilled and trained healthcare providers/birth attendants) to be able to implement all the things stated in the bill”.

Mrs. Akinso advised that after the Bill gets passed it should be translated into the local language so that everyone can have access to the information therein. More than anything she said, there is the need for a total overhaul of health facility and system in Oyo state.

The maternal mortality rate in Nigeria stands at 645 per 100,000 births and in Oyo state 262 women out of 100, 000 that deliver will die. That translates to mean that about 3 women will die out of 1000 births.

This is unacceptable as No Woman Should Die Giving Birth to Another Life and this is the essence of this bill. Mrs. Akinso ended her contribution to the memoranda with these words, “I do hope that this bill will be adequately funded, monitored and implemented”.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

A-DAY OUTREACH ON FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES (FP) In commemoration of World Population Day at Oje Market, Ibadan

A view of Oje Market on Tuesday 10th July 2018 Photo by @debisibusybeeMedia
NURHI Community mobilizers sensitizing market men & women about the ongoing free family planning service outreach. Photo by @debisibusybeeMedia

At the Oje Market bustling with activities where market women display their wares and goods to sell to customers, the atmosphere was a mixed ambiance of buying and selling noise and drums with dancing.

Something was up at the market on this day. Right at the center of the market close to the “Babaloja” (Chairman of the market) tents were mounted up and chairs arranged to receive beneficiaries of the free family planning services been provided for the market women and anyone who was interested in accessing this service.

As one of the media crew who was present to cover this exciting program I observed that a few women were already sitting waiting patiently as the health workers and FP service providers set things up putting in place products to serve these dear women who keep working hard to make a living and taking care of their family members. Other women hawking bread; food vendors and so on dropped their wares to take advantage of the moment. I knew juicy stories were waiting for me here but most of all it was great seeing these low income earning women get the opportunity to make a decision about their reproductive life.

The slogan for the outreach-

Family Planning is Life Planning: Know About it, Accept it, Access it.

Nigeria currently ranks  number 7 in the world population. In a 2017 report earlier by UN- Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) the country is expected to be the the third most populous nation in the world! Nigeria with a projected population of 187million is expected to grow to about 250million. This is alarming given the nation’s economic indices and GDP growth which is not commesurate to cater for provision of basic amenities and sustainable livelihood for citizens. The government need to plan for the future by putting in place measures to control population explosion that will further impact negatively on our economy.

Meet two of the beneficiaries as they share their FP story and onwhy they showed up at the outreach:

Mrs Idowu and her baby after taking her free injectable family planning method. @debisibusybeeMedia

Mrs. Idowu Olaide – FP Service beneficiary – A tailor 
I am at Oje Market to access the free family planning services been provided here today. I became a user of FP because my older sisters who are also mothers are users of family planning. This encouraged me to also become a user when I began to have my children and It has been three years now since I started using FP. I am on the 3 monthly injectables Family planning method. So today I came for a follow-up visit to have another dose of my FP method. I have enjoyed the method I use. Often I tell other women to also go and access family planning because it has many benefits. It prevents a woman from getting pregnant when she is still nursing a baby

Mrs Saheed after collecting her FP Pills in an interview with Journalists. @debisibusybeeMedia

Mrs. Saheed Suliat 
I became educated about family planning and its benefits through awareness on the radio and then at the clinic nurses and health workers talk to us about it. I have been a user of the Pills family method even before I got married. Today I am here to access free FP services and therefore I was able to get my pills for free here at this outreach in the market
This particular beneficiary had a misconception that FP prevents sexually transmitted diseases. It is important to note that only Condom has a double protection which is preventing unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Some of the Facilitators of the Outreach share their thoughts :

Mrs. Victoria Segilola -Program Officer ARFH
This outreach is all about bringing the family planning services to market women who find it difficult to leave their business to go family planning to access services. So we have brought the free services to their doorsteps and attending to clients does not take more than 10 minutes and then they can go back to their shops. Team members and mobilizers are all over the market sensitizing the market women and men.

Mrs. Segilola has been an advocate for family planning for over 40 years.

I am happy at the progress we have made in reducing maternal mortality rate according to statistics. This the basis of all efforts at encouraging more women to take on family planning. And it is heartwarming to see that all collaborative efforts have greatly improved peoples uptake of FP.
However, these women need the support of their husband and government. More Funds investment by the government will improve these low earning women to have free access to family planning services.

Mrs. Stella Akinso State Team Lead, NURHI Oyo State
We are here at the Oje Market to let people know that family planning uptake is not by cohesion it is voluntary. Promoting the right of every human being to access FP particularly Women of Reproductive years
Right to information and quality services about family planning that will empower them to make the right decisions
Data shows that there is high knowledge but low acceptance of FP especially with rural and urban-rural women who still need their husband’s permission to take up Family planning services. We are encouraging spousal communication but also want people to know that it is the right of every individual of reproductive age to seek and to access family planning services.

As we celebrate another world population day it is imperative to understand that it is the right of every citizen to make informed choices about planning their lives in order to achieve a more productive life.

In our efforts to combat poverty we must pay attention to our population and be sure that we have enough resources to cater for our growing number.

Organizers:
National Population Commission in collaboration with development partners ( The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative(NURHI 2); Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN); Association of Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH); Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYSACA); and National Orientation Agency (NOA).

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Principal Producer (FRCN) 
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Media Tour to Aketan and Kolobo Primary Health Centres, Oyo #Maternal/ChildHealth

A conducive working environment makes workers feel confident and helps with being more productive

In the company of a few journalists from Oyo state, I went on a media tour to two Primary Health centers this week. I look forward to trips like this as it gives an opportunity to see things as they really are on the field when working to improves lives of members of our communities. In this instance, I and the media team got an eyewitness account of what Primary Healthcare facilities in Aketan and Kolobo in Oyo town looked like after a 72hour makeover work by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI).

These facilities had been renovated a year ago by NURHI and made conducive for mothers, infants, and children who come to the access health care services. The field visit was organized by DEVCOMS Network, a media development, capacity-building non-governmental organization working with NURHI in promoting media advocacy on maternal and child health and family planning.

Front view of Kolobo PHC. Head Nurse-Mrs Adesola, DEVCOMS project Manager – Omobonike Ogungbemi and Demola – Tribune.

As the team of media personnel drove into the compound of Kolobo PHC which was the first facility we visited, I noticed the building looked bright and colorful as the painting on the wall still looked new. In a chat with the head nurse Mrs. Adekoya, she explained that prior to the renovation she and her staff could only use one room to carry out all services to clients. This included attending to every case in that same room and staff could not sit comfortably in the other rooms inside the building. She was all smiles and happy that the facility was now more conducive to their work.

Health workers need well-equipped facilities and a conducive neat environment in order to work efficiently.

Hospital beds at Kolobo PHC and baby cots

However, the Head Nurse advocated for more beds to be provided as the health care center had only four beds. Therefore whenever more than four women are in labor then there is usually a problem of bed space to accommodate the extra waiting mothers. Sometimes they put an extra mattress on the floor and they are forced to discharge mothers quickly after delivery. The good news is that more women now come to the facility to adopt family planning methods suitable for them at the renovated facility.

Mrs Isiak Zainab an FP user posing for a picture at the renovated family planning room at Kolobo PHC.

The other good news on the trip is that I met a number of family planning users who were happy about their methods. One of whom is Mrs. Aisha Shuaibu a 20year old mother of three children already. Using family planning method has now helped her to rest in between births, stay healthy and take care of her family better. Mrs. Isiak Zainab a 28year old mother of two children said they uptake of a family planning method has enabled her to adequately space the birth of her children. They shared their experience using an FP method and how it has helped the well-being of their families. It was also nice to hear that these women are able to give time to their business without the stress of getting pregnant too quickly after being delivered of their babies.

Front view of Aketan PHC as journalists on media tour steps in

At Aketan, the health center was even a bigger facility, here also we were met with a bright looking environment. The head nurse in her testimony said that more women now come to register with the clinic and there is an increase in the number of those coming to take up family planning. Some family planning users also shared their story on how FP is helping they and their families to have a less stressful life.

Maternal and Child health continues to be an important area of health concern as it has to do with preserving the next generation of the human race. Therefore improving the well-being of mothers, infants and children require providing adequate and accessible health care services for them.

One of the challenges of maternal and child health care is getting access to a well- equipped facility that has trained health professionals to cater to the needs of pregnant mothers. The Primary Health Care Service is meant to be close to communities so that mothers do not have to trek long distance in order to get health care services.

Volunteer community mobilizers talking to the media about why they choose to be FP advocates

In Oyo State, there are 33 Local Government Area Councils which has a number of PHCs. As part of the efforts to upgrade this PHC for community use, the Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative since it began its work in Nigeria has contributed immensely to improving maternal health through advocacy, education, and collaboration with all stakeholders in bringing to the fore the need for improved family health and wellbeing. NURHI continues to promote the use of family planning methods in order to raise whole and economically empowered families.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Radio Program Series You will Totally Enjoy Listening To: Entertaining, informative & Engaging!

I was part of the team that designed the intriguing and engaging stories by African Radio Drama Association(ARDA) and Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI). Stories were designed for three states and I tell you we had so much fun putting it all together. Now the program is set to begin a new quarter this February.

Find the details in this press release below:

“Get It Together” Radio Programs Return:
Weekly Program to Air in Kaduna, Lagos and Oyo States

Abuja — We are back with a brand new season of the “Get It Together” Radio programs Se’rigbo in Lagos, Ireti Eda in Oyo, and Komai Nisan Jifa in Kaduna starting the week of February 12th, 2018.

The radio programs are part of the Get it Together Campaign of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2) which encourages all Nigerians to KNOW the facts about family planning, TALK to their partner, and GO for family planning services.

In the episodes of these popular radio programs — Se’rigbo in Lagos, Ireti Eda in Oyo, and Komai Nisan Jifa in Kaduna — audiences follow the lives of characters and their interesting journeys through everyday life in Nigeria. The shows also give listeners the opportunity to call-in and speak directly with family planning experts, who will answer their questions live on-air. Listeners also have a chance to win weekly prizes of N1,000 recharge cards.

Speaking about the programs, Dr. Mojisola Odeku, NURHI 2 Project Director said, “Listeners are hooked on the programs’ serial dramas and real stories. Fans calling-in to the program to have their questions answered by family planning experts is one of the more popular features.”

Radio Show premiere dates, radio stations, and broadcast times are as follows:

Lagos Se’rigbo :
-Bond 92.9 FM: Mondays 4-5pm
-Radio Lagos 107.5FM: Mondays 4-5pm
Both start on February 12

Oyo Ireti Eda :
-Fresh 105.9FM: Wednesdays 4-5pm (Start date: February 14)
-Amuludun 99.1FM: Mondays 3-4pm (Start Date: February 12)

Kaduna Komai Nisan Jifa :
-Liberty 91.7Fm: Saturdays 4-5pm (Start Date: February 17)
-Nagarta Radio 747Khz: Wednesdays 3-4pm (Start Date: February 14)

Radio listeners can join in the conversation and see what other fans are saying and catch up on previous episodes on Get It Together’s official Facebook page: @getittogetherng

About the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2)

The NURHI 2 project uses communication to increase demand for family planning among men and women. It is led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) in partnership with the Center for Communication Programs Nigeria (CCPN).

The Get It Together radio programs build on the success of the previous seasons and the campaign’s 2016 hit song “Get It Together,” featuring Paul ‘P Square’ Okoye and Tiwa Savage. NURHI 2 has also helped establish a network of trained health providers offering friendly and confidential family planning services. NURHI 2 locations can be recognized by the blue, yellow and orange puzzle piece logo with signs that say ‘FP services available here” and the National Family Planning ‘Green Dot logo’.

For more information please visit http://www.nurhitoolkit.org, send an email to cokereafor@nurhi.org or call Chukwuemeka on 0805-334-0599

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

January 8th – 12th, 2018: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week in Oyo State

Mothers and Newborns at Akinyele Primary Health Center in Ibadan, Oyo State

The Oyo state government is starting the year in a grand style by paying attention to maternal and child health. A one week long activities which will provide free medical services for mothers, newborn and children in 702 health facilities in various local governments in the state.

Children under five will be given Vitamin A supplement; other services to be provided are malnutrition screening, HIV testing, provision of family planning commodities to help mothers rest in between births, malaria drugs and deworming tablets and more.

The commissioner for health in Oyo State, Dr, Azeez Adeduntan confirms that health officers will visit schools to administer Vitamin A to pupils. What a great way to start another school term as children resume school work this week!!

Encourage mothers around you to take advantage of this free health service…spread the word.
Let’s all join hands together to end maternal and child mortality.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

NET MAPPING OF ADOLESCENT & YOUTH FAMILY PLANNING SITUATION IN OYO STATE (15-24years)

As a parent would you subscribe to sitting and talking with your adolescent or young son or daughter about his or her contraceptive options? This question came up while in a meeting organized by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Initiative (NURHI) to do a Net Mapping of Adolescent and youth (15-24years) family planning situation in Oyo State.

Hmmmn…it is one thing to have sexuality/sexual education talks with your growing child but another to actually now give him or her the option that seems to encourage engaging in sex. Being a mother I would want my children to abstain from sex until they are in a committed relationship (Marriage). My church mind believes in celibacy/chastity until marriage. And since I was successful at waiting until I tied the knot with the love of my life and😍 I would love to encourage my children to do same. Why would I want them to take the option of abstinence? Having sex means taking responsibility for the emotional complications and other things that could come up such as sexually transmitted diseases; becoming a young mother or father as a result of unplanned pregnancy and having to hold on from achieving their dreams should this happen.

However, the world is more complex than our own growing up years. Children are exposed to all kinds of sexual choices. As tough as it might seem, if a child becomes actively involved in sex in spite of all the abstinence preaching then it might be wise as a parent to educate your son/daughter about contraceptive options that will enable them to protect themselves against some of the consequences such as unplanned pregnancies and Swiss. As for the emotional issues that can occur, I don’t have a solution to for now.

When it comes to unplanned pregnancy many teenage girls and adolescent are at the receiving end. Young people are often experimental and therefore engage in sexual activities. Often when a girl has a baby growing in her womb she is still in school with her future still ahead of her. The baby becomes a threat to her achieving her dreams and goals and soon she and the father of the baby if he even accepts responsibility for the pregnancy decide to get rid of the baby through abortion.

There are alarming unsafe methods of aborting a pregnancy. Some girls use over- the – counter drugs, others swallow poisonous and corrosive substances that end up destroying their internal organs and leading to death sometimes. According to a research report published in the Guttmacher Institute Journal titled The Incidence of  Abortion in Nigeria is estimated at 1.2million induced abortions as at 2012 amongst females ages 15 – 49. That is just too many!

We may need to change our stereotype minds and educate young people about their contraceptives options while also preaching abstinence and its benefits. This will help our adolescents to make informed choices and hopefully, they will make the right choices that will not hurt them and their future.

Amongst Facilitators were:
Stella Akinso – State Team Lead NURHI, Oyo State
Mallam Kabir Abdullahi – State Team Lead NURHI, Kaduna State
Barr. Oris Ikkideh

Adebisi Adetunji (C)
BusyBee Media for Social Change & Development
Phone: +(234)-07083403146, E-mail – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com.