DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Image: Senior officials (seated) along with participants of the National Consultation for Formulation of a National Adolescent Health Strategy Workshop.
In July 81 health workers benefitted from a training in adolescent orientation, which was conducted by PAHO/WHO in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health. Doctors, Community Health Workers, Staff Nurses, Medexes, and Midwives drawn from Mabaruma, Moruca, and Georgetown participated in the training.
At the start of the training a pre test was conducted to assess participants knowledge and skills on adolescent health issues. Also, a survey on Adolescent Health was done to establish the needs and challenges health care workers face within the Region and their respective health centres. It was evident from the pretest and survey that participants needed information on how to address adolescent health issues and how to promote adolescent health within their centres. It was also noted that health care workers face challenges such as lack of resources to effectively deliver adolescent health services to the target population and lack of networking within the area. After the training a post test showed that participants knowledge and skills were improved.
The training comprised of theory and practical exercises where participants practiced facilitation and counseling skills through the use of active scenarios. Other activities also allowed practical application of materials from the training manuals.
During the training particular emphasis was placed on delivering information to and communicating with adolescents, teenage pregnancy and alcohol use since these were major issues identified that are faced in the regions. The training concluded with the development of an action and implementation plan for their facilities.
2015 data from the Ministry of Public Health shows that the prevalence of teenage pregnancy within the 15- 19 years group was around 21% with the majority of young mothers found in some coastal and hinterland communities. The UNICEF MICS 2014 revealed that the adolescent birth rate for the three-year period preceding the survey was 74 births per 1,000 women. The adolescent birth rate in the regional grouping 1, 7, 8 & 9 is almost three times that of other regions/regional grouping, at 187 births per 1,000 women. Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton, Maternal and Child Health Officer, Ministry of Public Health noted that there are several initiatives to aid in scaling up of adolescent services in each region.
Dr. Janice Woolford, Specialist, Family and Community Health, PAHO/WHO in providing an overview of the global progress of adolescents noted that globally, about 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 and some 1 million girls under 15 give birth every year—most in low- and middle-income countries. She added that every year, some 3 million girls aged 15 to 19 undergo unsafe abortions.
On 11th September 2017, Mr David Robinson, Anti-Corruption Adviser for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), paid a courtesy call on the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, SC, MP.
Mr Robinson’s visit comes at a time when he is preparing to spearhead the GUY24 project. This project aims to support the prevention, investigation and prosecution of corruption in Guyana. At the meeting Mr Robinson informed the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs that he has drafted an anti-corruption work plan which sets out his planned activities to strengthen Guyana’s anti-corruption regime. This plan is to be reviewed by the Government. Additionally, to execute the work plan he will be collaborating with all anti-corruption agencies and stakeholders including the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), States Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Mr Williams in response to the plans outlined by Mr Robinson, indicated that the Government welcomes his presence and expertise in Guyana and is willing to work with the UNODC as anti-corruption is high on the Government’s agenda. Mr Williams further stated that the Government is currently working to strengthen the Special Organised Crime Unit by building capacity and training persons within that unit. The Attorney General’s Chambers/Ministry of Legal Affairs has embarked on an Anti-Corruption Sensitization Seminar which aims to educate the public on legislation and bills aimed to tackle corruption in Guyana.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Mr Sydney James, Head of SOCU, Mr Matthew Langevine, Director of the FIU and Ms Joann Bond, Senior Parliamentary Counsel.
The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in collaboration with UNICEF recently launched a programme at the Aishalton District Hospital in Region Nine, which will specifically address issues relating to Adolescent and Men’s Health and Early Childhood initiatives as it relates to the effective delivery of health services to adolescents and men in Aishalton village and the surrounding communities.
Present at the Thursday launch were the MOPH, Dr. Dennis Bassier and other Ministry of public health representatives, UNICEF Adolescent Development and Participation Officer Jewel Crosse and Region Nine regional supervisor for Maternal and Child Health, Medex Lenski Henry, a village councillor, secondary school students and members of the public.
This is the first time the programme is being introduced in Aishalton village and the sub district; it was launched in Lethem on September 05.
The programme is expected to foster behavioral changes in persons struggling with social issues such as sexual abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence etcetera. Teenage pregnancy will be one of the key areas targeted by the Adolescent Clinic, as well as other social issues that affect teenagers, which they may be afraid to relate to family members. The men’s health clinic will treat various social and health issues.
Crosse explained that emphasis will be placed on other important areas such as the known trend of men placing the sole responsibility on women or appearing negligent to attend their wife’s pre and post-natal clinics; unaware of the vital roles they play in parenthood. Focus will also be placed on men who generally pay scant interest to their health by not going to hospitals regularly for a general medical checkup.
Preparations have already been made for further training of a resident, who has already been identified and will serve in Aishalton Sub district. Medex Henry explained that the entire programme will be integrated with other departments which will cover a wide range of topics which will be informative and educational. He pointed out that the men who attend clinic and are more involved, become better fathers.
Immediately following the launch, there was a small discussion with various groups to further explain what the programme entails. The visiting team also made a donation of a large flat screen television and a DVD player to the Aishalton District Hospital for educational purposes.
By: Nikoli Poon, Aishalton Village, South Rupununi, Region 9.