March 5, 2010
Better health and development coming for adolescents

Several stakeholders here, driven by this country’s National Family Programme, are committed towards designing a policy for adolescents in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The programme aims to foster better health and development for adolescents throughout the state.{{more}}

This will first be done in the form of a draft policy, said Sister Naomi Prince, Coordinator of the National Family Planning Programme.

The consultation, held under the theme “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Vibrant Future”, ran from Monday, February 22 to Friday, February 26, 2010, with representatives drawn from the Pan American Health Organization, the Ministry of Education, and the Youth Department.

“This is not the end. This is just the start,” said Sis Naomi Prince, Co-ordinator of the National Family Planning Programme.

She reminded the audience that there would be challenges and roadblocks along the way but the team should remain committed to its goals.

Dr. Betzabe Butron, PAHO’s consultant at the session, said it was a great opportunity to learn about health problems relating to adolescents in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

She stated that she took three lessons from the consultation: Stakeholders’ varying perspectives about what is important and what needs to be done for improving the health of adolescents need to be taken into account; the key role of education; and the role of adolescent and youth.

“They keep us real. They keep us in place,” said Butron.

“Make sure that PAHO will be working with you in all the steps that you will make in this year or next year or the following years.

“This is just the beginning, working towards having this policy document and then the next step will be to actually make it happen,” said Butron, noting that PAHO will continue to offer its assistance and contribute to the initiative until the organization sees changes happening for adolescents here.

Facilitator of the Consultation Claudia Brann said the workshop offered an opportunity to understand varying experiences.

She reminded the participants that formulating a policy for adolescents is a process and she was optimistic that they have the ability to do it.

Brann offered to help and encouraged the organizers to liaise with her.

Students from the Thomas Saunders Secondary and Intermediate High School attended the workshop.

Meanwhile, PAHO was thanked by Prince for the technical and financial support.