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Health Ministry's COVID-19 youth programme a hit with young leaders

Saturday, October 17, 2020

KINGSTON, Jamaica — More than 100 young leaders turned out for the official unveiling of the Ministry of Health and Wellness' COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme, which will tap into their capacity for advocacy in order to enhance the national response to the pandemic.

The event was staged at the Jamaica Conference Centre on yesterday. It saw some 50 youth leaders on site, while about 70 more joined virtually.

During the event, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton explained the impact of COVID-19 on children and adolescents and shared coping strategies for youth during the pandemic.

The ministry said the youth leaders, who participated from across the island, were also provided with the introduction to the programme which focuses on youths 14 to 30 years old. The ministry noted that the programme's objective is to  effectively engage young people on the protocols established to protect the general population and transform them into change agents for the rest of the society.

To achieve this, the ministry said the programme will provide community-based support; foster relationships between youth and health services; and provide mass media education for young people.

President of the Balaclava Police Youth Club, Jordan Dressikie, speaking about the event said, “It was rather informative and engaging, and covered a lot of what the ministry hopes or seeks to embark on. I hope that whatever was said will be executed and followed up by our youth leaders because we are in community spread and it is important that we play our part in mitigating the community spread from our level.”

He added that he and his team will be headed into his community in the coming days to distribute care packages, together with the local poor relief inspector.

Minister Tufton noted his confidence that the programme will succeed in its various youth-led activities and in the public health interest.

“The vitality, courage and persistence of youth has always served society. I know that now, when we need that vitality, courage and persistence, our youths will rise to the occasion, helping us to win the fight against COVID-19,” Tufton said.

“The fact that they took the time to participate in Friday's event is evidence of their willingness to do so and the Ministry is here to support them,” the minister added.