Tuesday, Jan 22 2019 | Time 11:37 Hrs(IST)
  • Skripal case: EU sanctions 4 Russians
  • Amit Shah to address rally in Malda; Start-up to LS poll
  • Powerful quake rocks central Indonesia, not potential for tsunami
  • Jammu-Kishtwar-Ramban road blocked for traffic due to snow, landslide; schools closed in Udhampur
  • Ohio plane crash: 2 killed
  • Shimla, Manali wrapped in white blanket; treat for tourists
  • Mexico pipeline explosion: Death toll climbs to 91
  • Modi's unplanned development destroyed Varanasi's charm, says Cong leader Ajay Rai
  • Blizzard weather: Kashmir highway remains closed for 2nd consecutive day
  • 2019: Global economy to see ‘steady’ growth of 3 pc despite risks
  • Encounter ensues in Kashmir's Shopian
  • Australian PM asks Indonesian president to "show respect," keep terrorist in prison
  • Giuliani tries to distance himself from statement on Trump tower Moscow talks
  • 6 0-magnitude quake jolts Indonesia
  • PM Modi to address Brigade rally after poll schedule announcement
World Share

Belize steps up to prioritize health challenges faced by its youth

Belize steps up to prioritize health challenges faced by its youth
file photo

Belize, Apr 17 (UNI) Jared Cain, 18, from the south side of Belize city, Belize, knows all too well the sound of gunshots.

“In the past two to three weeks alone, there’s been multiple shootings in my neighborhood," says Cain, a member of the Belize Children’s Advisory Body and the Belize Family Life Association Youth Advocacy Movement. "It’s common to hear gunshots outside my window while I’m studying or playing video games with friends."

Violence, particularly homicide, sexual violence and bullying, is a significant adolescent health issue in Belize. Teenage boys are more likely to drop out of school and become involved with violent gangs or other illegal activities, a WHO report on Tuesday said.

"We shouldn’t worry about the grown men holding their guns,” Cain says. “We should be focusing on ways to get guns out of the hands of youth in our country."

Although 1 in 5 people in Belize is aged 10-19 years, adolescents are underserved by the country’s health programmes. In addition to violence, adolescents have high rates of teen pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, road traffic injuries, obesity and depression.

While interventions like free contraception and sexuality education are available, adolescents in Belize either do not access the services, face stigma or shame, or are not provided enough information. Violence prevention programmes have not achieved the scale and intensity to achieve impact. Mental health and counseling

services are largely unavailable.

To improve the situation, WHO is working with the Belize Ministry of Health, UNICEF, UNFPA, and other stakeholders to develop a national adolescent health strategy that targets all health challenges holistically, rather than focusing on one or two.

"Adolescents are facing numerous health challenges that are impacting their ability to thrive and reach their full potential,” says Dr Julio J Sabido, Medical Officer, Maternal and Child Health, Belize Ministry of Health. “Investing in adolescents will have immediate and long-lasting impact on their health, and that of future


Belize is one of the first countries to translate the Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country implementation, launched by WHO in 2017, into a national plan. The AA-HA! Guidance details various interventions, such as comprehensive sexuality education or policies to limit access to firearms, that countries can implement as part of their national


In order to draft a preliminary roadmap and fully understand the process, a delegation from Belize participated in an AA-HA! Guidance meeting for Caribbean countries in November 2017. Four months later, the Ministry of Health held the first stakeholder meeting to introduce the roadmap and propose a workplan for developing the

national strategy.

Consultations with additional local and national stakeholders are now being conducted to gather further input. The country plans to launch their first national adolescent health strategy by December 2018.

"It is essential that we have a wide consultation of stakeholder groups so that our national strategy does not only relay national-level priorities, but also those at the community level," says Dr Susan Kasedde, UNICEF Belize Representative.

Meaningful adolescent and youth engagement is also critical to the design, implementation and ownership of Belize’s adolescent health strategy. UNICEF will support 130 adolescent representatives from the

Children’s Advisory Bodies operating in municipalities nationwide, to 0join other stakeholders in informing the development of the strategy.

"We are very conscientious that the country cannot develop a impactful adolescent health strategy without the voices of its youth," says Dr Sabido. "We need all of their perspectives to develop a plan that will positively impact their health and wellbeing."

Lezli McCulloch, 18, is one of the youth advocates lending her voice to the plan. Having seen the stigma teenage girls face when they become pregnant, and learned very little about sexual and reproductive

health in school, McCulloch hopes the strategy will offer adolescents in the future more resources.

"I want to see better services provided to adolescents, especially services that help to reduce gun violence and teen pregnancy,” she says. “We have been affected for too long and too many lives have been lost. There should be more for us."


More News
Ohio plane crash: 2 killed

Ohio plane crash: 2 killed

22 Jan 2019 | 11:33 AM

Washington, Jan 22 (UNI) A plane crashed in Ohio shortly after take-off, killing two people aboard, media reported on Tuesday.

 Sharesee more..
Mexico pipeline explosion: Death toll climbs to 91

Mexico pipeline explosion: Death toll climbs to 91

22 Jan 2019 | 10:34 AM

Mexico City, Jan 22 (UNI) The death toll from pipeline explosion in Mexico's central state of Hidalgo climbed to 91 while 52 sustained injuries, said state governor Omar Fayad.

 Sharesee more..
Mexico: new pipeline leak detected days after deadly explosion

Mexico: new pipeline leak detected days after deadly explosion

22 Jan 2019 | 10:27 AM

Mexico City, Jan 22 (UNI) Another gasoline leak from pipeline belonging to Mexico’s state oil firm, Pemex, has been discovered days after a deadly explosion that claimed 91 lives, local media reported.

 Sharesee more..
India signs MoU with Srilanka in building modern infrastructure for Swami Vipulanada Institute of Aesthetic Studies

India signs MoU with Srilanka in building modern infrastructure for Swami Vipulanada Institute of Aesthetic Studies

22 Jan 2019 | 10:19 AM

Colombo, Jan 22 (UNI) India and Sri Lanka on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide modern infrastructural facilities to Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies, Eastern University in Batticaloa District of Sri Lanka.

 Sharesee more..

‘Compelling case’ for urgency around global disarmament: UN

22 Jan 2019 | 10:08 AM

United Nations, Jan 22 (UNI) Michael Møller, head of the UN in Geneva, has warned delegates to the Conference on Disarmament that cyber-security challenges, and the existence of new weapons systems and technologies, are not being sufficiently addressed or reflected in current arms control regimes.

 Sharesee more..