Lethem beefs up Child Protection awareness measures

The town of Lethem has been making strides in the protection of children by initiating several measures and partnering with media and other stakeholders to ensure that children enjoy the best quality of life; free of sexual and other forms of abuse.

This young girl indulges in face painting at the child protection rally in Lethem

Regional Health Officer (RHO) Dr. Naail Uthman disclosed that the Lethem Regional Hospital has received a total of 151 cases of sexual abuse and 173 cases of adolescent pregnancy for the period from January to September 2019.

Senior Child Protection Officer, Tanis Boston noted that recently there has a steady increase of reported child abuse cases.

However, she explained that this is because an aggressive public awareness campaign is ongoing in the region.

The campaign includes a weekly radio program, “Child Protection and You”, aired on 95.1 Radio Lethem.

The Childcare and Protection Agency through the Ministry of Social Protection during the period September 22-28, 2019, observed the annual Child Protection Week, under the theme: “Promoting Social Change to Stop the Violation of Children.”

The Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo, Region 9 team, held a “Child Abuse Prevention Symposium” during the week which focused on combating Sexual Abuse and Teenage Pregnancy.

Officials from the Ministries of Public Health, Public Security, Education and Social Protection made presentations on their roles, responsibilities and statistics for the period of January to September 2019.

Stakeholders and presenters, under the guidance of Superintendent King, Detective Bowen and Cindy Nelson were able to craft an Action Plan that will be employed to address Sexual Abuse and Teenage Pregnancy in the region.

Boston urged stakeholders to hold the relevant authorities accountable in executing the determined Action Plan.

The week of activities continued throughout September and included a Rally, Children’s Concert, Games and an Information Village in Lethem.

Regional Executive Officer, (REO) Carl Parker in his address to the gathering, stressed that Child Protection is everybody’s business and as such it takes community involvement and collaboration between agencies to combat child abuse.

Children from the Annai Secondary and Primary, Moco Moco Primary, Arapaima Primary, The Little Angel’s Daycare Centre and St. Ignatius Primary and Nursery Schools all performed original pieces for the children’s concert.

The talent pieces will be recorded and aired on Radio Lethem.

Child Protection Officer, Sophia Bess showered praises on the Ministry of Education, the Regional Democratic Office, The Lethem Town Council, Andy’s Variety Store, Trans Guyana Airways (Lethem), Fiona’s Beauty Shop, The Lethem Police Station, Anthony Hunte and Wendella Franklyn for their contributions.

Additionally, the agency also held a poster competition as part of the 2018 Child Protection Week of activities.

The first and second place winning posters, which were done by Jasanya  Foo and Devon Rodrigues, have since been adopted by the Child Protection Agency and unveiled to the public.