Nigeria Health Watch: Leveraging Digital Health to Improve Sexual and Reproductive Health

9 June, 2022

Extracts below. Read online:


Leveraging Digital Health to Improve Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Among Nigeria’s Youth

By Patience Adejo and Kemisola Agbaoye (Lead Writers)

Adolescents, who account for about 1.3 billion of the global population, may become sexually active despite their lack of adequate knowledge. This exposes them to the risks of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and possible unintended pregnancies...

When fifteen-year-old Rose got pregnant, her mother sent her away from home and she went to live with her 17-year-old boyfriend. Halfway through the pregnancy, she lost the baby and would have died, but for the quick medical intervention that enabled her to recover. When she was feeling better, a nurse in the hospital advised her mother to encourage Rose to have an IUD inserted to prevent future pregnancies until she was old enough and ready to start a family.

This was good advice, but Rose clearly needed to do more than insert an IUD - she also needed to be equipped with the right information to hellp her make the right choices and improve her reproductive health outcomes. Fifteen-year-old Sarah acknowledged that her mother had talked to her about sex, but it was nothing more than the age old, ‘if a boy touches you, you’ll get pregnant’ talk. She knew there was more and had questions but didn’t know who to speak to because “people became uncomfortable the few times I tried to ask them.”...

Adolescent Friendly Health Services (AFHS) should be accessible, acceptable, appropriate, equitable and effective. "Even better if they are online,” added Sarah who mentioned that she just could not imagine walking into a hospital and speaking to a nurse about SRH. The poor attitude of health service providers is one of the barriers adolescents face in accessing SRH services. Others include community and religious norms, financial constraints and stigma...

Mobile health (mHealth) technology has been used for individualised email reminders to patients, automated phone calls or text messages, reminders of medications or visits to the health facility, as well as increased access to family planning information. Some digital health innovations like WHISPA and Link up have helped to improve SRH services among Nigeria’s youths. WHISPA is a mobile app that allows young people to privately access SRH services in a manner that is convenient, affordable and non-judgmental and Link Up is a youth friendly health services finder that links adolescents and young people to SRH facilities and providers across Nigeria using google maps...


Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA,

Global Healthcare Information Network: Working in official relations with WHO