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Addressing the health needs of adolescents

More than 35 people from the Health Promotion and Health Education Division (HP&HED), formerly the Central Health Education Bureau (CHEB), as well as UN agencies and NGOs attended two workshops held in Nay Pyi Taw on the 4th June. The first workshop, “Dissemination Workshop on Adolescent Job Aid” was to distribute a Myanmar version of a health care handbook for health workers who provide primary health care services to adolescents. The second workshop was to finalise the National Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health and Development (2014‐2018).

Highlighting these achievements, Dr. Thein Thein Htay, Deputy Minister for Health, said: “These two workshops will kick start the distribution of the Adolescent Job Aid (AJA) booklet to different areas of the country through HP&HED’s network of focal persons. Moreover, through the inputs of the delegates here today, who work with a variety of youth services, our National Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health and Development will be finalised soon. This will ensure an effective and coordinated response to the health needs of young people in Myanmar”. 

According to the recently published main results of Myanmar's 2014 census, there has been a rapid growth of young people in Myanmar. Adolescents, persons aged 10 to 19 years, number 9,734,351, accounting for 19% of the population, while young people, those aged 10 to 24 years number 14,065,420 and account for 28% of the population. Dr Hla Hla Aye, UNFPA Assistant Representative, reflecting on these figures, emphasised: “If we invest in young people’s health today, we can be sure they will have access to a high standard of health care as well as information, and opportunities to develop life skills as well as to participate in society”. 

The AJA booklet published by the World Health Organization (WHO), and now available in Myanmar, was developed with the support of UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF. The handbook is intended for health workers who provide primary health care services to adolescents on specific problems or issues that are common to adolescents such as sexually transmitted infections. During her discussion, Dr. Hla Myat Thway Eindra, Director of Department of Public Health, who oversees the operation of health staff said: “Now our health staff can refer to this user friendly handbook that meets international standards. It provides precise and step-by-step guidance on how to deal with adolescent’s health problems”. 

 

In the second workshop, participants broke out into 5 discussion groups to revise and make recommendations for the latest draft of the NSP for 2014-2018, which will provide a framework for young people that allows them to highlight their healthcare priorities, engage in annual planning and mobilise resources to address their health needs. 

Dr. Zaw Zaw Myo, an Advocacy and Communication Officer from the Alliance, who participated in the workshop said: “As a young person and a health care staff, I have been given the opportunity to advocate for the inclusion of the young key affected population’s agenda into the National Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health and Development (2014‐2018) and I am grateful for this opportunity.” 

As yet there is no fixed date for the launch of the National Strategic Plan for Young People’s Health and Development but it is expected soon. 

To view the Adolescent Job Aid (AJA), click here.