Georgetown, Guyana – (December 19, 2018) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, called for more health and family life education in schools and greater participation by teen fathers in programmes designed to enhance the lives of their teen partners, at the launch of the Situation Analysis of Adolescent Pregnancy in Guyana. The First Lady also recognised the efforts being made by the Ministry of Public Health to provide adolescent health services to teenagers and teen parents at its health centres.
Mrs. Granger said that she was particularly interested in this issue given its impact on the social and economic growth and development of teen mothers and their children. “We have to be very straightforward when we look at these things and what methodology we use to capture all the young people in this cohort to educate and empower them. How do we approach health and family life education and sexual and reproductive health when some teachers claim to be uncomfortable with the subject?” Mrs. Granger asked.
She then advocated that age appropriate health and family life education should be thought at every level of our school system so that children and teenagers can learn about themselves and the differences which make each person unique. The First Lady said that this will foster understanding and tolerance and will help teens to become “better informed and more capable of making educated choices in relation to their sexual and reproductive health”.
Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence said that the empirical data provided by the study is critical to the work of the Ministry, and from which an action plan will be implemented. This plan is being drafted in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“Apart from sharing contraceptives and apart from sharing information, the Ministry of Public Health must now collaborate with the Ministry of Social Protection and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs to also address the social determinants” that are contributing to the issue,” she said. The Minister also said that seven Peace Corps officers are currently working in some of the far-flung regions with vulnerable teens.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Representative, Ms. Sylvie Fouet, commended the Ministry and the First Lady for the work that they have been doing to stem teen pregnancy and to foster more positive outcomes for teen parents.
“Allow me to thank you Lady Granger for being a voice of adolescent and young people in Guyana. Let us continue to partner to ensure that every child in Guyana is protected,” she said.
Ms. Fouet also handed over the Situation Analysis of Adolescent Pregnancy in Guyana report to both the First Lady and the Minister of Public Health.
According to the report more than 20% of all pregnancies in Guyana are among adolescents. It also noted that there are several socio-economic, regional and ethnic differences in the rates of teen pregnancies, with the hinterland regions carrying higher rates than the coastal regions.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative, Mr. Adler Bynoe; Consultant for the study Dr. Morris Edwards, representatives of the Ministry of Social Protection and children from several schools around Georgetown also attended the event.
Since President David Granger’s assumption to the Presidency, the First Lady has been working closely with organisations which cater to enhancing the lives of women and girls throughout the country, such as the
Women Across Differences and, through her office, she has spearheaded a number of programmes aimed at providing education and other skills training and other opportunities for women and girls.