Sep 17, 2010, 1:32 PM
The National Youth Council (NYC) yesterday concluded a two-day national training workshop on Youth and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, held at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo.
Speaking on the occasion, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mambanjick Njie, challenged the participants to effectively participate in all the deliberations since, according to him, they would become communicators on these issues in their workplaces.
According to Mr. Njie, the subject of discussion was quite pertinent to the overall development of young people. "No country can develop without a healthy dynamic youth population. Since we cannot stop young people from active sexual activities; therefore, the need to give you the required knowledge is essential," he added.
PS Njie, however, challenged young people to change their attitudes in relation to their sexual and reproductive health.
"We would continue to support young people, but also expect you to reciprocate," he challenged.
He used the forum to remind young people of the recent review of the National Youth Policy, and he was quick to add that for it to be successfully implemented, concerted efforts, including the inputs of the youths, is required.
Mr. Njie commended the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, for funding the programme, and for their continuous support to the country's development endeavours.
The Assistant Director of UNFPA, Dr. Reuben Mboge, said the issue of adolescent and reproductive health is critical to the general well-being and the health of youth. Young people, he added, need current gender sensitive information to be able to make wise decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health rights.
"The current UNFPA country strategy was designed to address sexual and reproductive health needs of young people," he added.
Dr. Mboge noted that today poor reproductive health is a leading cause of death and disability.
Stressing that there is a need for greater investment in adolescent and reproductive health, he said his organisation would remain committed to the cause of youth empowerment by supporting the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the NYC.
The master of ceremony, Marchel Mendy, the Executive Secretary of the National Youth Council, said the idea of organising the National Youth Forum on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health was conceived within the context of empowering youths with the necessary knowledge on issues affecting their lives.
Other speakers included Famara Fatty, a Senior Reproductive Health Officer at the Ministry of Health, and Malang Jersey Director of Youth and Sports.
Meanwhile, the issues discussed at the forum included STIs, HIV/AIDS, and maternal mortality among young women, well as drugs and alcohol abuse by young people in relation to reproductive health, among others.
Participants were also introduced to the life skills training manual for young people, and made some adjustments they felt necessary to some areas.