Guyana to pilot UN sexual, reproductive health project
- youths from five communities targeted

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
October 22, 1999

Guyana has been chosen as one of three countries to pilot the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) three-year Adolescents/Youths Sexual Reproductive Health Care Project.

Coordinator of United Nations organisations in Guyana, Richard Olver, said yesterday that the project will be launched shortly.

Olver made the announcement at a ceremony organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to honour, Beatrice Poole, the symbolic six billionth world citizen in Guyana. Olver, who is also the UNDP Resident Representative said that the project, which will be executed in collaboration with the Guyana Government, is aimed at improving the quality of life, well-being and sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and youths.

The project will target five communities, Port Mourant in the Corentyne, St Cuthbert's Mission in the Mahaica Creek, Victory Valley in Linden, and Beterverwagting and Mon Repos on the East Coast Demerara.

The UNFPA project was brought to Guyana, Olver said because of the country's population, size, poverty level, gender inequalities, preponderance of youths in the population and poor sexual and reproductive health factors.

At the end of the three-year project, Olver said, there should be an integrated system of sexual and reproductive health care at the five sites and there should be a national commitment to addressing adolescent and youth health issues.

There should also be improvement in the access to and use of facilities and national capacity should be strengthened to provide such care.

The UNFPA, the UN co-ordinator said, was pleased to host the ceremony as reproductive health was at the core of human development issues. Noting that there was a connection between unplanned population growth and development and economic progress, he said that Guyana's population was small and poor reproductive health practices will jeopardise development prospects.

Poor reproductive health is costly to every country when it reduces the number of productive citizens, increases medical and medical care costs and takes more than its fair share of national budgets.

In honouring Poole as Guyana's symbolic sixth billionth world citizen, Olver expressed the hope that the UNFPA/GOG project will help to honour the young generations who are Guyana's hope and true wealth.

The world's population reached six billion on October 12 and Poole was selected from a wide field of candidates. One billion people were added to the world's population in 12 years with the world population growing at 78 million a year.

Among those present at the ceremony to honour Poole were Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Indra Chandarpal; City Mayor Hamilton Green; Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rudolph Cummings; and Executive Director of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association, Frederick Cox.

Responding to the words of commendation, Poole, who hails from Victoria said that if the honour was one in which she was a symbol of joy for the family, a symbol of overcoming difficulties and setbacks and a symbol of achievement of the women of Victoria and Guyanese women in general, "then I am happy."

Poole gave birth to 17 children, 16 of whom are alive today.

She was accompanied by her husband Dennis, and one of her ten sons Glenroy.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples