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Call for abstract for 3rd National Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit

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The National Population Council and Marie Stopes Ghana, in collaboration with state and civil society partners will organize the National ARHR Summit in
May 2021. The summit will, among other things, review progress on the implementation of ASRHR policies and programmes, build consensus and seek domestic support for ASRHR programing in the country.

Categories Include:

• Adolescent SRHR investment and financing
• Reproductive Health Education for Young People
• Gender based violence,child marriage,sexual abuse
• ASRHR Advocacy
• SRHR Policies
• The Media and ASRHR
• Innovations and digital Platforms

The abstract should not be more than 500 words, summarizing introduction/problem statement, objectives, methodology, results (or expected results), and conclusion.

Participants may indicate their interest in the summit by completing this online application form: https://forms.gle/s6GHekyyjNrvRboB6 .Priority in selection will be given to young applicants (15-24yrs), individuals who submitted unsuccessful abstracts and applicants who show evidence of experience in population management and/or ASRHR. Deadline for online application is 16th May 2021.

1.0 Background and Context

Ghana’s population is young, 37.2% of the population is under 15 years of age and 47.3% is under 20yrs.[1]Adolescents (10-19yrs) make-up a sizable proportion of Ghana’s population and is projected to grow considerably as the 0-14 years cohort grows into adolescence. According to the 2010 population census, Ghana had 4,935,531 adolescents aged 10-19 (approx. 22.4% of general population), and this is projected to increase by 33% to 8.0 million in 2030 (with 3.9 ml girls).

 

Over the past few years, Ghana has continued to improve on a multitude of development indicators. The country has officially reached lower middle-income status, making it an exception among its neighbours. However, the situation has not progressed at the same pace for all Ghanaians, with inequality still stark. Significant gaps remain in access to quality maternal health and family planning services, which is pertinent in a country where maternal mortality remains the second most common cause of death among women in Ghana.  The most recent Ghana Maternal Health Survey (2017, published 2018) showed that two-thirds of deaths related to maternal causes were direct maternal deaths (67%), with the most frequent cause being obstetric hemorrhage (30%) and hypertensive disorders (14%).  Even with Ghana’s relatively liberal legislation on abortion, only 11% of the women surveyed for the Ghana Maternal Health Survey knew that the procedure is legal in Ghana.

 

Like most of the reproductive health indicators, the state of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) in Ghana is far from ideal; high adolescent birth rates and unsafe abortions continue to be issues of social and public health concern. As the second decade of life, the period of adolescence is marked by profound changes in the biological, emotional and cognitive makeup of an individual. These changes have a direct impact on the health of the adolescent as they influence their choices and behaviors. Adolescents are therefore more likely to engage in adverse behaviors which affect the quality of their health, wellbeing and overall development.

 

The 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) reports a 14.2% national teenage pregnancy rate, up from 13% in 2008, with wide regional variations. Whilst the Greater Accra region recorded 8.3% adolescent birth rate, Volta, Brong Ahafo and Central regions recorded 22.1%, 21.3% and 21.3% respectively (DHS 2014); as against 10% teenage pregnancy rate across sub-Saharan Africa and 1.5% in high income countries (Telegraph 2019). Data from the Ministry of Education’s Education Management Information System further shows the unfortunate trend of teenage pregnancy rates in this country; 6,607 pregnancies were recorded from upper primary – SHS in the 2017/2018 academic year alone and about 7,293 pregnancies in the 2018/2019 academic years.

 

Although data on adolescent mortalities are scanty and not readily available, a 2011 autopsy study revealed that 75% of maternal mortalities among adolescents aged 15-19yrs in Accra were due to unsafe abortion (Ohene et al, 2011)[2]. Quite expectedly, unmet need for contraception amongst adolescent girls is highest at 50.7%. (DHS 2014).Government’s support for ASRHR has been minimal, irregular, and subsumed under broader health focus, making it difficult to access the little earmarked for youth SRHR[3]. ASRHR therefore remains hugely under-funded at both the policy and operational levels.

 

1.1 Meaningful Youth Involvement

Many social, economic, cultural, and religious factors inhibit access to SRHR information and services, including safe abortion, for adolescents in Ghana. Whiles patriarchy and high incidence of poverty in some parts of Ghana, with women disproportionately affected, limits general decision-making abilities of women in Ghana, the situation for adolescent girls is further worsened by an ageism culture where young people’s opinions are largely disregarded.

Beyond these, the omission and/or inadequate attention given to key SRHR topics in the educational curricula for basic and second cycle institutions; religious and socio-cultural barriers to SRHR communication to, from and among young people; bottlenecks in access to services; and the limited or near exclusion of young people themselves from the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of adolescent/youth SRHR programmes greatly contributes to the ASRHR outcomes for the country. Young people also typically have inadequate opportunities to participate in the dissemination of information concerning them, and which are beneficial to them, largely as a result of limited local and national SRHR platforms, such as adolescent SRHR summits, which could provide them avenues to meaningfully participate in ASRHR.

2.0 ASRHR Summit

The National Population Council and Marie Stopes Ghana, in collaboration with state and civil society partners will organize the National ARHR Summit in

May 2021. The summit will, among other things, review progress on the implementation of ASRHR policies and programmes, build consensus and seek domestic support for ASRHR programing in the country.

 

This summit is a follow-up on  the 2nd National Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Summit, organized by The National Population Council, Marie Stopes Ghana and state and civil society partners, on the 29th -30th of August 2018, at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra.,At the Summit, it there was consensus for the establishment of a biennial national SRHR platform for stakeholders, including young people themselves, to engage on how ASRHR can be effectively implemented to help achieve desired health outcomes.

 

  • Proposed Theme: Road to SDG: advancing priorities in |arh FOR THE NEXT DECADE
  • Date: May 25 -26, 2021
  • Time: 08:00am -3:30pm each day

2.1 Objectives

  • To understand why adolescent SRHR has not attracted the needed national / political attention
  • To advance advocacy for Reproductive Health Education and Services for Young People
  • To provide platforms for partners to share knowledge and lessons on the implementation of ASRHR across the country, especially amidst covid, to help improve SRHR policy, programming, and advocacy.
  • To promote young peoples’ ideas and innovations in advocacy and programming for ASRHR.
  • To explore sustainable financing for adolescent SRHR, critical cost benefit analysis and advance advocacy for increased government funding for ASRHR.

3.0 Abstract Submissions

In pursuit of the above objectives, abstracts will be invited from interested individuals particularly young people and organizations for oral presentations. The presentations will cover executed/ongoing research or project initiative(s) carried out by the applicant/organization/ Best practices to advance ASRHR in Ghana.

3.1 Oral Presentations

These presentations would be delivered during joint and/or concurrent panel sessions. For each session, speakers would first be invited to make their initial submissions. This would be followed by moderated discussions and questions/inputs from the audience. Topics to be covered include:

  1. Adolescent SRHR investment and financing: This session will explore sustainable ways of financing ASRHR with linkages to socio-economic development. Abstracts and presentations must explore government’s role in ASRHR financing and its relationship with the concept of demographic dividend.
  2. Reproductive Health Education for Young People – This session will look at RHE and its usefulness in the Ghanaian context, history and way forward. Abstracts and presentations must center on evidence –based strengths and weakness of RHE implementation, and how best we can approach it as a nation.
  3. Gender-based violence, Child marriage, Sexual abuse: This session will focus on prevailing challenges of SGBV and their relationship with ASRHR. Abstracts and presentations must focus on recent trends and data, as well as recommendations for sustainable solutions.
  4. ASRHR Advocacy: Effective political engagement to ignite better action; this session will address the question; how can young people advocate, campaign and build coalitions for SRHR. Abstracts and presentations must focus on evidence –based approaches to advocacy, addressing how adolescents can get resources, mobilize, and connect with other young leaders to form networks to campaign for SRHR issues in the country, community, school or organization.

 

  1. SRHR Policies – This session will explore global and national policies and its relations with ASRHR in the context of the SDGs and AU Agenda 2063.

 

 

  1. The Media and ASRHR: This session will examine the role of the media in promoting ASRHR. Speakers will share knowledge on adolescent centered media programmes and how they affect young people. Abstracts addressing media engagement in ASRHR programming and advocacy are welcomed for this session.

 

  1. Innovations and Digital Platforms: This session will showcase the role of new technologies/innovations like Telemedicine and social media in advancing ASRHR, especially amidst COVID-19, as well as how young people utilize these mediums to network for advocacy and also hold duty bearers accountable. Abstracts addressing any of these priority issues shall be considered for the session.

 

3.2 Participation

The summit will be a hybrid event for about 300 participants. Meals, summit brochures, T-Shirts and ID Tags for physical participants will be provided. Successful speakers outside Accra will be provided with accommodation, transport subsidy and meals for the duration of the summit. Participants outside Accra will join virtually.

3.3 Application Process

A call for abstracts on any of the above themes is opened from the 16th of April 2021. Applicants are expected to submit their abstracts to arhsummit@gmail.com . The abstract should not be more than 500 words, summarizing introduction/problem statement, objectives, methodology, results (or expected results), and conclusion.Deadline for submission of entries is 30th April 2021.

3.4 Registration for Summit

Participants may indicate their interest in the summit by completing an online application form. Priority in selection will be given to young applicants (15-24yrs), individuals who submitted unsuccessful abstracts and applicants who show evidence of experience in population management and/or ASRHR.  Deadline for online application is  7th May 2021.

 

3.5 Further Information

 

For questions about the summit logistics, including participation, sponsorship, and exhibition contact: arhsummit@gmail.com or 0800208585; Hardcopy applications can also be dropped at the NPC secretariat.

 

[1] Ghana Statistical Service (2012): 2010 Population and Housing Census.

[2]Ohene SA, Tettey Y, Kumoji R. Cause of death among Ghanaian adolescents in Accra using autopsy data. BMC Research Notes. 2011; 12(4):353

[3] Ghana Health  Service (2016): Draft ADRH REVIEW report: Bottleneck Analysis.

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