Apr 4, 2012, 12:19 PM
The training organised by the National Youth Council (NYC) on youth and adolescent sexual and reproductive health is relevant.
As said by the Youth Ministry's Permanent Secretary, the subject of discussion is quite pertinent to the overall development of our young people.
It's quite true that since we cannot stop young people from active sexual activities, there is a need for them to acquire right knowledge.
Parents should also engage their children, especially the girls on issues relating to adolescent and reproductive health.
The issue of adolescent and reproductive health is critical to the health and general well-being of our young people, and it makes sense for them to know these issues well in order to make wise decisions on their own.
Some parents may feel reluctant to discuss the issue with their children, as they often ascribe it to be a taboo. But this should not be the case, and for this reason we should graduate from such thinking.
Young people need the right and relevant information so as to be able to make wise decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health, and on how to exercise their rights.
According to officials, today's poor reproductive health situation is a leading cause of death and disability in the world. This is scary, and needs to be properly looked into.
Development partners like UNFPA need to help build throughout the country more youth centres, where young people can go for information and education, as well as serve as a meeting place to discuss and learn from their peers on adolescent and reproductive health issues and problems.
This will go a long way in addressing problems associated with poor reproductive health, such as unwanted pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, morbidity and maternal deaths, among others.
All this makes it even more important to have more investment to address adolescent and reproductive health concerns. Investment in more youth-friendly centres in the country would also help the country's youth in many ways.
Once again, we commend the National Youth Council of The Gambia for organising the National Youth Forum on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health which is, in fact, in line with giving effect to the newly-developed National Youth Policy and related action plan.