Better guidance for adolescents in Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 18 January 2018 00:00

On Tuesday morning the Ministry of Health in partnership with PAHO Belize hosted a stakeholders meeting in Belmopan to sensitize civil society organizations and other stakeholders on the Accelerated Action for the health of Adolescence (AA-HA!) Guidance document. This is the first meeting of many that the Ministry of Health will be hosting in an attempt to recognize the critical developmental phase of some 87,000 adolescent Belizeans. At the urging of the PAHO Region of the Americas, Belize is now seeking to accelerate the preventive intervention for adolescents.

This step by step document was launched by the World Health Organization in 2017 to support the drafting of new health policies and programs for adolescence health. It is hoped that Belize will have developed its own strategic plan by the end of 2018.

Dr. Natalia Beard from the Ministry of Health says that the adolescent phase of the human life-span involves biological, emotional and social changes within the individuals;  occurring within a context of a rapidly changing society “…and especially crime and violence that can influence their health status like leading to depression or even being survivors of violence.”

“The responsibility starts with the parents, but we recognize that some parents have difficulty addressing adolescent issues so we are here to help and to maximize our effort to try to reach to more adolescents,” she says

Thanks to PAHO there is now a wealth of scientific knowledge on the adolescence phase. Armed with that knowledge, Belize will now be aligning with the rest of the Region in order to address the current gaps in preventative interventions.

Thus; the meeting on Tuesday in Belmopan was important in order to look at how the different organizations are providing services to adolescents and how to  optimize those opportunities. While the Ministry of Health provide care and treatment for adolescents, experts concede that early interventions in health is a better strategy.

Participating groups at Tuesday’s meeting were the Ministries of Education, Human Development and Local Government, Department of Youth, Cancer Society and the BFLA among others. While it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire Nation to adequately meet their transitional needs into adulthood.