Youth workers boost community health skills


23-May-2009

This follows a two-week health training programme, jointly organised by the Youth Department and the Youth Health Centre (YHC) in the Ministry of Health and Social Development.

The aim of the programme was to set up a coordinated mechanism to better apply, monitor and evaluate health programmes at community level and also to reduce the spread of risky behaviour among adolescents.

It was carried out by assistant psychologist at the YHC Samantha Padayachy.

The district youth workers in a souvenir photograph with Mr Rose and other guests after the certificate presentation ceremony

Those who successfully completed the training programme received their certificates recently, in the presence of principal secretary for youth, sports and culture Denis Rose, chief executive of the Health Services Agency Marise Berlouis and director general for youth Emmanuel Toussaint, among other guests.

Addressing the youth workers, Mr Rose said the training should not only turn them into role models in the communities they serve but should also ensure good services delivery and help them to encourage young people to feel comfortable in using the services provided by district health centres.

He explained that very often young people are reluctant to use ordinary health services, mainly due to a lack of trust and confidence in the service providers and for fear of being judged by non-youth-friendly staff.

Mr Rose asked all organisations involved in working with youth on health-related matters and general wellbeing to strengthen their commitment so as to ensure young people have access to appropriate information and guidance.

This, he said, will prevent them from being victims of social ills and help them to become healthy as well as health-conscious individuals.

“Youth health is the concern not only of the government but also of policy-makers, educators, health providers, families and the community, as well as the young people themselves,” he said.

Mr Rose ended by urging all those concerned to keep on working hard to ensure that the services are available, accessible and give young people all the information they need to make good health decisions.

During their training, which comprised lectures, practical and interactive sessions, debates and discussions, the youth workers learned about adolescent health issues in four main areas – reproductive health, drugs and alcohol, nutrition and mental health.

At the end of each topic, they were assessed through theoretical and practical examinations.

The youth workers will now move to the second step of the training programme, which is a practical phase where they will have to show the knowledge gained during the workshop.

Apart from integrating health-related activities into their daily work plan, they will have to prepare an action plan for the rest of 2009.

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