Childcare Protection Agency addressing social issues in Kwakwani

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 22, 2018

A resident Childcare and Protection Agency officer has been appointed to Kwakwani in Region Ten to monitor and provide the needed guidance and assistance on the ground.

The Ministry of Social Protection through its Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) has noted the high prevalence of social issues cases in the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) community of has sought to put systems in place to reduce the cases of teenage pregnancy, school dropouts, and statutory rape.

In addition, all other programmes and systems implemented for Linden and other coastal areas will be rolled out in Kwakwani. This is according to CPA Linden officer, Huette Moore who said that teenage empowerment sessions will be targeting young people to abstain from early sexual activity. Empowerment sessions include a teenage pregnancy prevention programme as well as the initiating of community action groups.

Social Worker assigned to the Kwakwani Hospital Laurette Gray is optimistic that issues will be addressed in a timely manner, with the CPA officer present in Kwakwani 24/7 to monitor the situation. Gray is attached to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) but visits Kwakwani twice monthly, a length of time, which she believes is not sufficient to deal with the number of cases. The LHC which looks over the Kwakwani Hospital Complex (KHC), through its management, has made application to the Ministry of Public Health for a social worker to be appointed at KHC.

Gray said that over 15 teenage pregnancies are recorded in the community per year which has a very small population. “That is only that come to the system, there are others we do not get in contact with because they are in the riverain area,” she revealed.

One of the fundamental contributing factors that have been noted is the culture of not regarding early sexual activity as something troubling. “I believe it is the culture of location, most of the persons there, they tend not to see underage pregnancy as any major issue, we have lots of children who are still in secondary schools, and nobody treats it with any kind of alarm of seriousness, it has just become the norm, so it has just become part of their culture,” Gray said.

Residents of Kwakwani have been calling for an institution to provide skills training for girls, especially school dropouts, to keep them meaningfully occupied and empowered.

By: Vanessa Braithwaite.

Image: Vanessa Braithwaite.