THE Guyana Responsible Association (GRPA), with support from the Pan American Health Organiszation (PAHO) and World Health Organisation (WHO), has undertaken an advocacy training programme for youths to address the need of sexual and reproductive health services for vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The training forms part of the WHO’s Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) COVID-19 response project titled, ‘Strengthening Civil Society Engagement in the COVID-19 Response’, which is being implemented locally through the GRPA. It also involves the distribution of care packages to women, adolescent mothers, youths, and other vulnerable groups.
Through the PAHO/WHO COVID-19 response initiative, GRPA is delivering more than 300 free life-saving services, including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing, screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), contraceptive implants, and Intra Uterine Devices (IUDs) to youths and women during the COVID-19 pandemic, to improve their health and well-being.
On Friday and Saturday, 20 youths from Regions One (Barima-Waini), Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Three (Essequibo Islands-West-Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) participated in the training programme at the Mirage Banquet Hall, in Alberttown, here in the capital, Georgetown, while on September 11 and 12, ten more youths from Regions Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice) will be doing their training in Linden, seat of administration for Region 10.
In addition, the GRPA has also donated 100 care packages, which are made up of personal protective equipment, feminine hygiene products, and baby supplies, to the Ministry of Health’s Adolescent Health Unit, which are to be given to adolescent mothers at community health centres across Guyana.
The COVID-19 response initiative by PAHO/WHO builds on the existing collaboration between CSOs, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies and other partners in providing direct funding to CSOs and community groups to implement COVID-19 related prevention and control measures, and to establish platforms for regular CSOs’ engagement at the national, regional, and global levels.
During the training, the GRPA also presented its final report of a qualitative assessment on access to sexual and reproductive health services by vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic in Guyana.
The purpose of the research was to assess the experiences of youth, women and other vulnerable groups when accessing HIV, contraceptives, and other sexual and reproductive health services during the COVID-19 pandemic in Guyana.
The GRPA in a press release on Saturday noted that the findings and recommendations, which forms part of the report, will be used to lobby the Ministry of Health for improved sexual and reproductive health services in Guyana. The report is intended to be presented to the Ministry of Health by the youths who participated in the training.