Ministry of Education, Guyana

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Friday, 03 February 2017 08:46

Ministry of Public Health launches two new initiatives which cater for the health and wellbeing of adolescents and teen mothers

Guyana and the world is faced with a grave reality that is the increase of teen mothers and the fact that teens within the 15-19 age range are affected by diseases such as HIV and Cervical Cancer.
In response to that reality, the Ministry of Public Health launched two new initiatives which cater for the health and wellbeing of adolescents and teen mothers. Work on these initiatives commenced two years ago; however, the need for strengthened collaboration among the Ministries and partner agencies was recognised.news 20170203 6

To date, 17 sites have been launched at Community Health Centres. These facilities are expected to provide the required packages of services according to quality standards and guidelines for all adolescents irrespective of their ability to pay, age, sex, marital status, education, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or other characteristics. They must also maintain supplies, equipment, ambience, privacy, confidentiality, data and supervisory systems to ensure effective service provision to adolescents.
This project calls for health care providers to demonstrate technical competence required to provide effective health services to adolescents. Importantly, the health care providers must respect, protect and fulfil adolescents' rights to information, privacy, confidentiality, non-discrimination, and nonjudgmental informed choices.
Aside from the Ministry of Public Health, the other key stakeholders include the Ministries of Education and Social Protection ,along with UN partner agencies such as UNICEF and UNFPA.
In her remarks, the Minister within the Ministry of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry recognised that the largest generation of adolescents and young people ($1.8 billion) demands attention and action, and so any initiative to address the problems that prevent them from accessing ready information and health care is most welcome.
“Adolescents and young adults face unprecedented social, economic and cultural changes and challenges. Any inaction or delay to deal with these challenges is a threat not only to the health and wellbeing of the young people themselves but also to the future of societies and future generations,” the Minister articulated.
Minister Henry recognised the need to develop innovative ways of dealing with the challenges adolescents face and develop a framework of care and support.
"We need to assess the needs of our youth with the aim of safeguarding them from the risk factors that would place them at risk for a variety of delinquent behaviours, while simultaneously building protective factors in the community to safeguard them from such behaviours. There, therefore, needs to be a coalition of individuals and groups such as schools, churches, parents, the youth themselves, local government, law enforcement, media, human services, businesses, youth organisations, hospitals and other stakeholders," the Minister illustrated.
Minister Henry pointed out that in many countries puberty triggers a marked divergence in the lives of boys and girls, usually resulting in greater opportunities for boys and greater limitations for girls. Further, "adolescence makes a perilous transition in a girl’s educational trajectory, as it coincides with this shift from girlhood to adulthood. As a result, adolescent girls confront daunting challenges in pursuing education," she added. On the other hand, adolescents boys do face challenges also, but not as many and as daunting as the girls.
The Minister further explained that adolescent girls face significant emotional and social changes that shape their future in one way or another.
"While adolescence is a time of great vulnerability for girls, it is also an ideal point of leverage development and diplomacy efforts. We need to safeguard our adolescents – both male and female. And perhaps, the most powerful action for their health and wellbeing is an intersectorial, multilevel, multicomponent approach, and engage and empower them to be part of the change and accountability mechanism," Minister Henry conceptualised.
Also addressing the gathering were the Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence and Minister of Social Protection, Hon. Amna Ally.
In her feature address, Minister Lawrence highlighed the work done by the various Ministries and their partners including Guyana's own – Women Across Differences (WAD).

In her remarks, Minister Ally emphasised that the government believes in pursuing the highest standard of health for teens. In this regard, this initiative is a testimony to the commitment government has when it comes to the Guyanese youth.
The Minister indicated that during the adolescent transitional period investments must still be made to ensure adolescents are healthy. The results of these investments will result in positive health outcomes in adulthood.
Minister Ally called on the gathering to never grow wary of advocating for investments in young people especially regarding their health and well-being.

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