Senegal Facility Makeovers of Youth Spaces Leads to Increase in Uptake of AYSRH Services
Contributors: Fatimata Sow and Annette McFarland
Four health centers in Ziguinchor, Oussouye, and Thionck-Essyl municipalities in Senegal recently received makeovers of interior spaces that provide youth counseling and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) services. Prior to these makeovers, three of the health centers – Djibock, Cabrousse, and Oussouye – did not have spaces exclusively dedicated to youth. The fourth – IME health center – had a space for youth, but it was run down and unattractive.
The Challenge Initiative (TCI) in Francophone West Africa adapted the 72-hour clinic makeover approach from Nigeria to make over spaces exclusively for adolescents and youth with the aim of improving the quality of AYSRH counseling and services. The mayor’s office of Ziguinchor helped select health centers to be renovated with the participation of young transformational leaders or (JLTs), health center staff and university personnel. For each makeover, windows and doors were replaced, ceilings were repaired and spaces were painted. New tables, chairs, filing cabinets and a TV were provided for each youth corner.
Before the makeovers, the four health centers saw low attendance of youth ages 15-24 seeking AYSRH counseling and services. In May 2021, just 401 adolescents and youth received a family planning method from these health centers. Now, on any given afternoon, it is common to find these youth corners full of young people, attending talks on sexual health topics or seeking counseling and services from health care providers. In September 2021, these four health centers provided family planning methods to 597 adolescents and youth ages 15-24, an increase of nearly 50% from May 2021.
Aïssatou Diatta, a JLT in Oussouye, said:
For us young people, being able to meet in an equipped space, and moreover in a health setting, is for us a great comfort and testifies to the extent to which the work undertaken between TCI, the municipality and the health actors take to heart the health problems of adolescents and young people. These places dedicated to young people are a real boon for us, especially young adolescent girls.”
The Mayor of Ziguinchor, Abdoulaye Balde, said:
The municipality of Ziguinchor recognizes that better care for the sexual health of adolescents and young people through dedicated spaces for sexual education means better growth of a young, healthy population that benefits from decent jobs. We can then take advantage of the demographic dividend.”
Two other centers (Bignona health center and a second one in Ziguinchor) are scheduled to be made over.