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Oct 2, 2018

A National Consultation on Health of Adolescents

Today, young people from across the country gathered at the Biltmore Plaza for a national consultation spearheaded by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Human Development and other partners such as UNICEF. The purpose of the consultation is to bring together various stakeholders, particularly the adolescents, to address the issues affect the youth. News Five’s Duane Moody was there and files this report. 


Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer, Technical Advisor, Maternal and Child Health, MOH

“We want to hear from young people what are their perception of what are the issues that are affecting adolescents currently in Belize.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

Economic status, poverty, mental, physical and sexual health, as well as crime and other social ills are among a list of issues affecting adolescent health in Belize and the world. All of these put them at risk of developing non-communicable diseases. A multiagency approach to address the issues has resulted in a national consultation with young people from across the country. The objective is to develop a national strategic plan for the health of youths.


Natalia Largaespada Beer

Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer

“The biggest picture affecting adolescent is that related to their sexuality. So lack of information and poor quality services can drive up adolescent birth rate which we know is double the worldwide average for Belize. We are at eighty-five when worldwide the rate is forty-four for every thousand female fifteen to nineteen. HIV, we know it is also affecting young people, and other health issues. So it’s a cross-cutting issue when it comes to adolescents because everything affects adolescents.”


The participants were chosen with assistance from the Department of Youth Services. And the reality is that the issues affecting the youth vary based on location, culture, education, etc.


Denroy Nembhard

Denroy Nembhard, Participant

“Right now here in the country, we have crime; we have different road accidents, people drowning and also the drug effect; drug and stuff like that.”


Juel Lewis

Juel Lewis, Participant

“It gives me the opportunity to share some of the health issues that are affecting me and my peers in my community and being able to help facilitate that process of getting the feedback from people around my age-group and finding out what are the health issues from the perspective of the youths is something very important and I am excited to be a part.”


So what is the solution to improve the access and quality of services available to young people as they transition from childhood to adulthood?


Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer

“We provide services to adolescents and we would expect to have more adolescents reaching the health facilities even if it is just to receive information rather than reaching us when they are pregnant or with an illness. But we know that we have limitations. We would want to do more in the preventative aspect, but we are struggling with human resources as we know. The Ministry of Health provides an opportunity to each community through the mobile clinic so adolescents should be accessing services, even if it is just in the form of information.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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