Adolescents targeted to take charge of their health

─ training workshop hears   

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Adolescents in the Caribbean have been identified at risk for health issues related to sex and reproduction by social services and health agencies.

While Guyana has been placed third in the Caribbean for teenage pregnancies, other recent surveys have been conducted looking at areas such as HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality and morbidity, mental health and Non-Communicable Diseases and its incidence and prevalence rates among the age 15 to 19 population.

The Ministry of Public Health is, therefore, offering its primary health care workers a reorientation and refresher training workshop in adolescent health services. These trainees will be mandated through this refresher workshop to be prepared to transform health centres into safe spaces for education and empowerment of adolescents where they will learn to take charge of their bodies and their health.

At least sixty people including community health workers, nurses and doctors from all administrative regions except Region Nine are engaged. This workshop will facilitate a familiarisation of the adolescent health initiatives touted by the ministry.

Also, those trained will be able to describe important elements of adolescence including health and social factors that contribute to their development. They will acquire skills to enhance their ability to provide friendly and effective adolescent health services.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence explained that though work has been done locally to reach out to the adolescent population with this refresher course more will be done to have an effective output.

“From all accounts, significant progress has been made but our adolescent population is so fraught with a plethora of issues. We hear them every day, we see them act out and we need to address these issues and we need to address them in such a way whereby we can make a significant impact on their lives.”

The minister further pointed out that a recent SitAn (Situation Analysis) has revealed that,

“adolescent pregnancy is rife in our country especially in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine, registering the highest numbers. In fact, our country reportedly ranked third in the Caribbean and while we want to do good, that is not a good number, we want to drop to the bottom.”

Minister Lawrence believes that these health workers, after training and returning to their communities can help in making the difference and changing the statistics which involves adolescents.

Director of Primary Health Care, Ertenesia Hamilton remarked that “adolescents are not older children or young adults, they belong in their own category, they come with their own characteristics so we need to look at that and plan for them.”

Delicia Haynes

Images: Jules Gibson

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