Adolescent health and development amid COVID-19 crisis

International and national experts discuss adolescent development and health problems in adolescence, teens’ access to youth-friendly services and education for health during the COVID-19 pandemic in an online international conference staged by the Association “Sănătate pentru Tineri” (“Health for the Youth”) and the National Resources Center  on Youth-Friendly Health Services “NEOVITA”, IPN reports.

The experts raised such issues as access to youth-friendly health services, adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, sexual-reproductive health of teens and health services in schools, health-centered education programs in schools, etc. The conference started on November 26 and will continue on November 27, being organized with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNFPA Moldova.

“The goal of the conference is to facilitate the exchange of experience and good practices in assisting and promoting adolescent health, including education for health during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the head of the conference organizational committee Galina Leshko, manager of the “NEOVITA” Center.

Marina Golovaci, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, said the COVID-19 pandemic had an influence on adolescent health not only through the infection with COVID-19 of a particular parentage of young people, but also by affecting their social, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Minister of Education, Culture and Research Lilia Pogolșa noted that the school ensures the education of the young generation, while the health services ensure the physical and psychological wellbeing of teens and young people.

Valeriu Sava, national coordinator of the Health Program at the SDC, underlined that Switzerland supports the Republic of Moldova to develop priority sectors, health being one of them, while adolescent health remains its top priority. “The prosperity of a country from economic, social, cultural viewpoints depends a lot on health, education and other factors that actually determine the prosperity and future of the young generation,” stated Valeriu Sava.

UNFPA Resident Representative in Moldova Nigina Abaszada noted that this conference is an opportunity to learn the best practices designed to support adolescents, mobilize society and innovative thinking. The access to information appropriate to age and to health services and social assistance is a factor that saves lives.

UNICEF Moldova acting country representative Ilija Talev said adolescence is a very important period of transition, from childhood to adulthood. The COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges that generate risks, such as closure of schools and social isolation, including eventual exposure to violence during quarantine. UNICEF Moldova, together with other partners, supported the creation of young-friendly centers and the support for children and youth will continue.

Tigran Yepoyan, of the UNESCO Regional Office in Moscow, said that during these not very easy times of pandemic, the adolescents should be supported in the realization of their rights to education, health, communication, friendship and in the implementation of their life plans. By combining the forces of health and education specialists, support will be provided to teens to overcome this difficult period and to offer them new opportunities.

The event was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research, the “Nicolae Testemiţanu” State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, WHO, UNESCO, UNESCO IITE, IAAH, EuTEACH, IPPF and UNICEF.

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