Georgetown, Guyana – (October 27, 2016) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, yesterday, encouraged several teenage mothers to become the leaders of tomorrow, in her address at an opening ceremony of the Teenage Pregnancy Support Group, held at the Sophia Health Centre.

The First Lady said that the group’s initiative provides a place and the opportunity for the young mothers not only to meet, but also to share their experiences with their peers and to access health care.

“I want to stress something to you today: you are more than statistics, you are special, you are individual and no one can take your place on this earth at this time, and you have a world of possibilities awaiting you…. You must know, as it has been told [to] you, that you can be whatever and whoever you want to be,” Mrs. Granger said.

The First Lady further noted that adolescents and young people make up the largest percentage of the people in the world today, and the choices they make will have a major impact on how our country grows and develops. She also said that she was pleased that the Government was continuing the initiative to provide a vaccine to prevent the occurrence of cervical cancer in young women. “It is a fact that several young girls are becoming victims of cervical cancer – a vaccine preventable disease,” she said.

The support group, which was spearheaded by Dr. Krystle Fraser, Chief Resident of the Family Medicine Postgraduate Programme, and nurses attached to the Sophia Health Centre, aims to educate and empower young mothers to make sound decisions and choices regarding their well-being. “We also hope that we’ll be able to give them some sort of tangible support during their pregnancy, because a lot of time there is need for material things that [are not] available to them that we can assist with. So we’re hoping that out of the support group we would be able to give them the kind of help they need both materially and knowledge based,” she said.

Dr. Fraser also said that though the group’s main focus is on teenage mothers, they intend to garner support from the relatives and friends of the young women. “[We] are not only focusing on the girls, but also trying to impact the [entire] family; we are drawing from the community at large…. We’re hoping that out of the support group we’re able to give them the kind of help that they need,” she said. She also noted that the Sophia Health Centre has registered the highest percentage of teenage pregnancies in Georgetown, with 71 cases recorded from January 2016 to date.

Meanwhile, Dr. Onika Scott, Co-ordinator of Adolescent Health and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS at the Ministry of Health, the Ministry started the clinic at several areas across Guyana to further educate young mothers. “There was a lot that was not said at those clinic sessions, but when [we] sat with those teen mothers… they had a lot to say. We knew Sophia had a lot of areas that were screaming ‘help me’…” she said.

Dr. Dawn Stewart, Consultant, Behavioural Coach and Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean People International Collective Incorporated and Ms. Desiree Edghill, who also attended the sessions, encouraged both the teenage mothers and the expectant mothers to take advantage of all the opportunities that the Centre affords them.

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