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Youth leaders to discuss improving adolescent health in Caribbean

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has announced plans to stage a Youth Leaders Initiative, aimed at bringing together people under the age of 25 to seek innovative ideas and solutions to address health problems that affect adolescents and young people in the Caribbean.

PAHO said an estimated 237 million young people aged 10 to 24 live in the Americas, accounting for a quarter of the region's population. However, despite being a priority demographic, youth mortality rates have decreased slightly between 2000 and 2015.

It said the Youth Leaders Initiative will consist of around 20 participants, representing the various sub-regions, genders, ethnic groups and other segments of communities in the Americas including the Caribbean.

They will participate voluntarily and will represent the entire region rather than specific organisations or countries.

“PAHO wants to give young people a voice so that they become part of the solutions that aim to improve their health and well-being,” said PAHO Director, Dr Carissa F Etienne.

“As young people are part of the change, it is important they participate in the development of the policies and measures that must be taken,” the Dominican-born official said.

PAHO's announcement comes within the framework of a series of activities to commemorate International Youth Day, which is celebrated every August.

PAHO said in the coming months, it will identify those that will take part in this initiative in order to begin the exchange of ideas. Members will also participate in campaigns on social media and other platforms to promote improvements in the health of adolescents and youth.

According to “The Health of Adolescents and Youth in the Americas” report, launched this year, half of all deaths of young people aged between 10-24 in the Americas are due to homicide, road traffic fatalities and suicide, all of which are preventable. Homicide accounts for 24 per cent of mortality, followed by road traffic fatalities at 20 per cent and suicide at seven per cent.

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