As part of my contributions to family planning, I have written and published several articles on young people's access and use of family planning. These articles are aimed at advocating for a broader health policy, programming and financing for young people especially girls to access family planning. My article titled "Stigma deters young people from accessing contraception in Nigeria" which was published by Thomson Reuters Foundation, was featured at the just concluded International conference on Family Planning held in Indonesia. I also engage young people in sensitisation on family planning. To highlight the need to achieve the FP2020, I wrote and published another article on the need to make more contraceptive options easily accessible by young people. To read, visit:www.ghnetwork.org
My passion for family planning was sparked by young people's lack of access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services including family planning in my community. This is fuelled by negative cultural practices and myths surrounding family planning. And has led to a high level of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV as well as unsafe abortions among young people in my community. It is for these reasons I decided to advocate and write about family planning.
The biggest challenge is the lack of political will and resistance by community and religious leaders. Also, young people are afraid of speaking up about the challenge they face in accessing family planning for fear of being stigmatised as there is a cultural belief that any young person who is not married and accessing family planning (use of contraceptives), is promiscuous. Again, travelling to rural communities in resource poor settings that are faced by insecurity is another major challenge.
My country's biggest challenge is the lack of political will to ensure that young people have easy access to affordable contraceptive options. To address this, laws restricting access to family planning should be reviewed to ensure easy access. Also, young people should be allowed to determine for themselves whether, when and how many babies they want to have, which is the aim of the FP2020 movement. This will allow young people to live healthy reproductive lives and support their families.
In five years, I want my efforts to lead to situation in my community where sexually active young people are not stigmatised for accessing family planning, or disproportionately marginalised in decision making processes that affect their sexual and reproductive health and rights. I want world free of injustice to young people in controlling their reproductive health. And I want a situation where government in my country ensures healthy lives and wellbeing of all her citizens devoid of tribalism.