Youth for Health project averts thousands of unintended adolescent pregnancies and unsafe abortions

Adolescents   |   12 October 2023   |   4 min read

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After one year of implementation, the EU co-funded Youth for Health (Y4H) Project has made significant progress in promoting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents in Africa.  

With an approach anchored in community engagement and ownership, the Y4H consortium has increased awareness of and access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights. The programme has reached over 600,000 adolescents and young people with information, and engaged with more than 3,700 community leaders and influencers to address barriers and generate support for adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights. Y4H partners in Kenya have also piloted the provision of comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents in and out of school.  

The programme has a strong commitment to reaching the poorest and most marginalised adolescent girls — including those with disabilities and in hard-to-reach areas. This was demonstrated through the impact achieved, with 16% of client visits made by adolescents and 2% of clients identifying as having a disability.  

The consortium also worked closely with the ministry of health, clients and community stakeholders across the six countries to increase public sector willingness and capacity to deliver and sustain high-quality adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services. Through our collaborative Y4H efforts, 150 health facilities were supported to provide adolescent-friendly, inclusive care, which averted an estimated 10,200 unintended adolescent pregnancies and 20,500 unsafe abortions, with 3,200 unsafe abortions prevented amongst adolescents. 

To promote an improved funding environment for adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights at a regional, national and sub-national level, Y4H partners used a range of participatory approaches to engage with communities and adolescents, and enhance social accountability. This was achieved by working with 93 adolescent champions to develop and deliver advocacy asks to decision-makers at national and sub-national levels. The project also successfully advocated for more inclusive government policies and provider training guidelines in two countries, resulting in the inclusion of medical sign language in government training modules in Ghana and revised Family Planning Guidelines in Zambia.  

Overall, after one year of implementation, the Youth for Health Project has demonstrated its effectiveness in empowering young people to become active agents in promoting their own health and rights. With continued dedication from the consortium partners and ongoing support from stakeholders at all levels, it is poised to achieve even greater impact in the years ahead. 


The Youth for Health (Y4H) project  

The Youth for Health (Y4H) project is a three-year initiative co-funded by the European Union that works to expand access to life-changing adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights. Its focus is on reaching the poorest and most marginalised adolescent girls, including those living with disabilities, and in rural and hard-to-reach areas of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia. By unlocking demand and access and contributing towards changes in favour of supportive policies and funding environments, Y4H will increase and sustain access to reproductive choices for girls and young women.  

Y4H is being implemented by MSI Reproductive Choices together with Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), Centre for the Study of Adolescence (CSA) Kenya, Health Alert Sierra Leone (HASiL), Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG), Sikika in Tanzania, Restless Development Zambia and Youth Network for Sustainable Development (YNSD) in Ethiopia. 


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