AHF Nigeria advocates age-appropriate sexuality education for children

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria, an International NGO, has advocated for an age-appropriate Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to enhance health outcomes and protect children from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and abuse.

The AHF Nigeria Country Programme Director, Dr Echey Ijezie, made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, in commemoration of the International Day of the African Child (IDAC).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the day is annually celebrated on June 16 to raise awareness and focus on challenges children in African countries face in receiving quality education.

The day is also to honour those who participated in the 1976 Soweto uprising and has since become an observance day about the rights of African children.

The programme director, therefore, said ‘AHF’s commitment to fostering CSE stems from extensive global research, which highlights its many benefits – including reduction in early sexual engagement.

‘Others are fostering a positive attitude to
ward sexual and reproductive health issues, reducing the tendency to engage in risky behaviours, and strengthening self-awareness.

‘There is also the need to equip young individuals with knowledge to combat HIV, STIs, and unplanned pregnancies, while challenging harmful gender norms.’

Ijezie also noted that the #ProtectTheChild campaign aims to address the pushback and misinformation around CSE, which has hindered effective implementation.

He added that the organisation would be hosting a consultative meeting with students, young people and government officials on how CSE could foster health and education on June 20.

He announced that AHF Africa will also host series of events under the theme ‘Fostering Health and Education Through Comprehensive Sexuality Education’ as part of its ongoing ‘#ProtectTheChild’ campaign.

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Ijezie said the theme aligns with the global 2024 IDAC theme – ‘Education for All, and the Time is Now’
, to underscore the crucial role that access to education, including Comprehensive Sexuality Education, play in enhancing health outcomes for young people.

He added that ‘the emphasis on age-appropriate CSE stems from the increasing rates of new HIV infections and teenage pregnancies, highlighting the urgent need to equip young people with proven tools, services and information.

‘Research has demonstrated that age-appropriate CSE can significantly reduce the incidence of HIV, STIs, Gender-Based Violence, and unplanned pregnancies among adolescents and young people.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria