UNFPA Launches Public Discussions in Communities on the Right of Adolescents to Health Education
Community public discussions on the right of adolescents and youth to health education are to be conducted in 22 communities from Orhei, Rezina, Falesti, Cahul districts and Chisinau municipality. The discussions aim to raise the community awareness on the health risks of adolescents and create the demand for Health Education in schools.
The Health Education discipline is optional and addressed to those pupils who chose to study it. In the study year 2017 - 2018, more than 23,000 adolescents requested this discipline, which is only 7% from the total number of adolescents who need this information.
There are currently more than 330, 000 adolescents aged 10-19 years living in the Republic of Moldova, around 12% of the country population. Due to high labour migration rates, more than 100, 000 children grow up without parental supervision. Many of them lack communication and quality information in the family and at school and are exposed to health and behavior risks. Every year, more than 2,400 young girls have unintended pregnancies. A 15-19 years old girl makes every tenth abortion and the incidence of sexually transmitted disease among young people is one of the highest in the Eastern Europe.
According to Rita Columbia, UNFPA Moldova Representative, ‘while growing up adolescents are also exposed to challenges such as gender based violence, emotional abuses, unhealthy behaviors which affect their health and wellbeing. The role of school is extremely important to educate girls and boys to become healthy and positive citizens, especially in the absence of parents’.
Alexandru Ioan Cuza community in Cahul district, with over 2,600 inhabitants, is one of the first localities where public discussions on adolescents and youth health education were held.
„Health education is very important nowadays. When a child whose parents are abroad does not know where to get information about puberty changes, health and development, the school becomes the only source of quality information. That is why it is imperative to focus on this subject at school starting with the first grade", considers Virginia Hioara, mother of two adolescent girls.
Cristina, a 10th grade student at ‘Alexei Mateevici’ High School, was startled by the statistics on adolescents’ health and the existing risks related to teen pregnancies, HIV. "I believe that such information should be brought to the students’ attention as soon as possible. We need to have access to reliable and age-appropriate information".
Tatiana Buciuceanu, the High School Principal also noted that: “health education discipline is very much needed for both adolescents and young people in today's society and needs to be included as a mandatory course”.
As from November 2017, UNFPA and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research have been implementing a Memorandum of Collaboration to promote health education in schools, which includes the revision of the optional curriculum for Health Education to be piloted in the 22 project localities.
The curriculum will respond to the needs of adolescents for quality, age-appropriate, gender and cultural sensitive health education.
The ‘Promoting Youth Health Education’ Project is being carried out by the United Nations reproductive health and rights agency (UNFPA), with the financial support of the Embassy of the Netherlands and in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research, the Youth Network of Peer Educators ‘Y-PEER’, ‘Partnerships for Every Child’ NGO and ‘Pro Didactica’ Educational Center.