Overseas based Guyanese women makes valuable donation to Region 9

Ministry of Public Health, Press Release – Friday, September 28, 2018

TEN female overseas-based Guyanese this week donated hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of school and other items for students of Nappi, Parishara and Kumu Primary and Lethem Nursery Schools.

The generous gift idea was born after the 10 women, Lorraine Mapp, Eurcelle Lewis, Loretta Adih, Amanda Mapp, Oni Celestin, Donna Davis, Lynette Grant, Wendella Babb, Lesney Prass and Joyce Celestin, read an article on the work of the Adolescent Health Unit, Public Health Ministry, was published on the World Wide Web (WWW).

The donors “have pledge to support the programme on another venture in 2019,” Maternal Child Health (MCH) Officer (ag), Dr Oneka Scott said Wednesday during the handing over ceremony to the Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) students held in the Indigenous Conference Hall in the town of Lethem.

The items included haversacks, stationery, toys and clothing for the school children.

Ms. Wilfred Toney deputised for the 10 women in their absence and assisted in the distribution of the items. Shawina Davis, nurse attached to the Adolescent Health Unit of the Ministry was also part of the visiting team.

While there, Dr Scott used the occasion to address pressing adolescent health matters and challenging teenage pregnancy issues challenging the some 1,000 residents of mainly Makushis, Patamonas, Wapishanas, Wai Wais.

The Adolescent Health initiative’s teen pregnancy clinic and the adolescent support groups’ programme targets special-needs or differently-abled children, adolescents living with HIV/AIDS started two years ago.

According to Scott, the programme has been well-received in the communities where teenage pregnancy and particularly incest are significant adolescent health issues.  She said pregnant teenage girls are more likely to drop out of school to take care of their new-born.

With full support from the Region’s Health Care Workers, teen mothers are now being seen separately from the adult women. This has since allowed for greater and more personal interactions with health care providers.

Through this venture, teenage mothers are also able to participate in community parenting and support-group meetings which are held at different intervals outside of the clinic setting. At these sessions the young mothers are given the opportunity to receive educational information on their pregnancy and other information which seeks to address the importance of family planning and how to prevent repeat pregnancies in their teenage years.

“Teen moms are children themselves so we teach them how to prepare for babies, what to do, what not to do during pregnancy and to recognise the warning signs. We even have fun baby games and the Lamaze training which looks at exercise during pregnancy”, Scott emphasised.

Scott applauded the efforts and support of the community health workers in the Region while making reference to the continuous success of Adolescent Health and Wellness Day activity is done once per month in Lethem, Annai and Aishalton, also in sprawling Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo interior location.

“We recognise that our people on the ground are willing so we will continue to give whatever support we can …. I must say the initiatives have been conducted with lots of enthusiasm from the health worker”, the MCH Officer (acting) said.

It is the vision of Scott and her team to ensure that every woman, child and adolescent living under any condition have access to existing social and economic opportunities available in the country and are able to participate fully in helping shape a prosperous and sustainable society by 2020.

This is in keeping with the country’s Health Vision 2020.  Scott said her department is pursuing various initiatives, including the establishment of adolescent and youth-friendly healthcare services across the country, towards this end.

These services are available in Region 9 and there are ongoing refresher training schemes for new recruits and existing staff to enhance their skills to function clinically and to address adolescent health matters, Scott explained.

“We are tasked to ensure that everyone is trained and that information is passed down so there is transfer of the knowledge”, Scott pointed out.

Though the initiative is a costly venture, Scott said the Ministry has recognised the importance of having models for demonstration and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for training and for community sensitisation sessions.

“My unit is committed to acquiring these items over the next few years. We will get the clinics prepared both structurally and technically support needed”, Scott said.

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