Woman at a radio station (Photo by Jeroen van Loon)

Why youth friendly services matter: improving SRHR services for young Ghanaians

"Last Friday I saw an underage girl who came to me for a pregnancy test. It was positive. I could tell that what she wanted was an abortion, but I told her we don’t provide those services at our clinic. Now, after this workshop, having learned about sexual rights, I feel ashamed. I should have referred her to abortion services." These words were shared by a nurse of a health clinic in Tamale, Ghana, during the 5 day training on Youth Friendly Services under the Access, Services, Knowledge (ASK) Programme of the Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRHR) Alliance.

Service provision

The provision of sexual and reproductive health services for young people in all their diversity stands at the heart of the ASK Programme’s work, with two out of the four result areas focusing on service provision. Recognizing the ongoing, crucial work of all ASK partners, a workshop was organized to foster critical reflection on what it means to be ‘youth-friendly’ and how the Alliance can make collective and individual strides towards the advancement of Ghanaian young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

 

Youth friendly services training ghana

Tool

Besides a focus on rights and the specific needs of youth, the IPPF developed self-assessment tool for youth-friendly services Provide was introduced for participants to rate their own services on youth friendliness. ‘Provide’ aligns with the principles included in the ASK Essential Packages Manual, which defines the minimum and an ‘ideal’ youth friendly service package for partners.

​Curriculum

Based on this training a curriculum is being developed for further rollout within the ASK Programme. This is crucial as youth, like the girl in the example above, not only need the information and skills related to sexual and reproductive health, but also access to services that meet the youth friendliness standards described in Provide and the ASK Essential Packages.

Youth Friendly services

Youth friendly services are open, accepting, accessible for young people and provide age specific information and services. Services are only truly youth-friendly if young people themselves are involved in determining the content, scope and monitoring and evaluation of such services.

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