The Strengthening Use of Research Evidence for Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (enSURE Adolescent and Youth SRH) programme, seeks to increase use of evidence in decision making processes for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH). African policymakers face challenges with accessing and using evidence for decision making in general. This challenge is particularly pronounced among policymakers responsible for adolescent SRH policy decisions. They have limited technical skills to access and use research evidence. In addition, until recently, most health systems in Africa do not include specific adolescent health indicators in the health management information system. The enSURE programme is being implemented to address these gaps in Kenya and Malawi and lesson will be used to inform regional actions.
The programme is implemented in Kenya and Malawi. Lessons from the two country are used to inform policy-makers in the wider sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Between April and May 2015, enSURE supported the Ministry of Health to enhance use of evidence for decision making on adolescent SRH by introducing 13 new adolescent health indicators into the District Health Information System (DHIS). The Ministry of Health publicly acknowledged these efforts. For instance, Ministry of Health officials highlighted this as a success in their 2014-2015 progress report at the launch of the 2015 Adolescent SRH policy on 3rd September 2015 and the National Adolescent SRH TWG quarterly meeting on 15th October 2015.
‘AFIDEP supported the Ministry to introduce more adolescent SRH indicators into the DHIS. Now we will be able to better track the SRH services utilisation by adolescents in Kenya.’ Dr. Jeanne Patrick, Programme Manager, Reproductive and Maternal Health
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, APHRC, CSA, UNICEF and other partners, the enSURE programme organised the 1st National Adolescent Health Symposium in Kenya which was held on 27-28th October 2015. The event aimed to bring together state and non-state organisations focusing on improving adolescent health to share innovations and strategies towards improving adolescent health. The event trended on twitter twice during the event. At the end of the Symposium, the Ministry of Health (Family Health Division) committed to address adolescent health policy gaps, prioritise generation of data on adolescent health and promoting multi-sectoral planning and implementation to improve adolescent health. enSURE will follow-up on these commitments through dialogues with the Ministry and other stakeholders to catalyse their implementation.
In Malawi, after the 2014, National Youth Dialogue the country has rolled out an activity to put in place a Youth management information system that will capture and make available data and policies on issues affecting young people especially SRH.
The enSURE programme also supported the revision of the 2008 YFHS standards and its related instruments (accreditation tool, Monthly and quarterly service provision form, Referral form, and Client exit interview). These have been adopted and rolled out. The Standards serves as an agreed list of standards or an essential minimum package as the benchmark for performance in accrediting facilities as offering YFHS. These Standards, bench mark approaches and standards of care for all facilities. The revised Standards and its related tools informed the development of the National Youth FHS Strategy, updating of the YFHS training Manual and also determined the type of YFHS data to be reported under the national health reports and the District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2).
In 2015, enSURE provided technical support to the development of the 2015-2020 National YFHS strategy which is being used to mobilise resources towards young people’s (10-24) SRHR services.
enSURE also provided technical support to the production of the National Youth Status report which was launched by the President on 22nd January 2016. This report focuses on young people aged 10-29 years. It was carried out in order to better understand the lives of young people in Malawi and the factors that are affecting them, both positively and negatively, with the aim of identifying priority areas for action that would improve their lives and contribute to the social and economic development of the country, now and in the future.
Through the trainings of District YFHS providers, enSURE is contributing in increasing focus on and broadening approach to improving young people’s Sexual and Reproductive Health which is consistent with the objectives of the Malawi Government as articulated in the MGDS and the Vision 2020. Through these health service provider trainings, it is envisioned that the country’s objective, which is to improve the sexual and reproductive health status of young people and reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS amongst young people in Malawi will be achieved. As well as improving young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information in all districts in Malawi.