Mr Girmay Haile, United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) Ghana Programmes Coordinator has said the exposure of adolescents to sexual issues, population and development is very essential to broaden their knowledge.
He said adolescents constitute important component of the population that needs to be invested in for national development.
Mr Haile announced this at the launch of the Seventh Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights in Accra.
It would be held at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) from February 8-12, 2016, and hosted by Curious Minds, Ghana, under the patronage of the First Lady of the Republic of Ghana.
Presenting an overview of the Conference, Miss Edith Asamani, the Conference Manager, said the conference would be on the theme “Realising Demographic Dividend in Africa: the Critical Importance of Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.”
Miss Asamani said the Conference is part of a long-term process of building and fostering dialogue on sexual and reproductive health and rights that would lead to concrete actions, and enhance stakeholders’ ability to influence policy and programming in favour of a sexually-healthy continent.
She said the objectives of the conference would include identifying best practices for adolescents and youth sexual and reproductive health, with a focus on effective responses to youth vulnerabilities.
It would also facilitate knowledge management and programming to help adolescents and youth to make contributions into the implementation of the International Conference and Population Development (ICPD) beyond 2014, the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Agenda 2063.
She said the thematic areas to be discussed include Population and Development; Policy and Legal Instruments and Issues; Sexual and Reproductive Health Information and Services; Socio-Cultural, Historic, Economic, Political and Religious issues; Research, Knowledge Management and Skills Building, and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
According to Miss Asamani, about 1,000 participants representing various stakeholder and constituency groups, including policy makers, developmental partners, civil society organisations, academia, adolescents, youth and duty bearers would attend.
Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ghana representative, said UNFPA had been a core partner of the Conference, since its inception and for this particular Conference.
He noted that the African continent performed most woefully on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5) which basically has to do with reducing maternal mortality and expanding access to sexual and reproductive health.
He said the Conference is therefore important as it would help maintain the progress Africa has made and to accelerate the progress Africa needs to make in improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, especially young people and women.