JM | Oct 18, 2020

Youth leaders to aid in national COVID-19 fight

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Youth leaders have jumped on board to help Jamaica get ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic after more than 100 of them turned out for the official unveiling of the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ COVID-19 Youth Leaders Response Programme.

The programme is aimed at tapping in the young leaders capacity for advocacy in order to enhance the national response to the pandemic.

The event, staged at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Friday, saw around 50 youth leaders on site but appropriately physically distanced from each other, while approximately 70 others joined virtually.

On the agenda, led by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, was an explanation of the impact of COVID-19 on children and adolescents; and a sharing on coping strategies for youth during the pandemic.

The youth leaders, who participated from across the island, were also provided with the introduction to the programme. With a focus on youths 14 to 30 years old, it has as its core objective the effective engagement of young people on the protocols established by the Ministry to protect the general population and their transformation into change agents for the rest of the society.

Young Jordan Dressikie. (Photo: Twitter @NYCJa_)

To realise that end, the programme will, among other things, provide community-based support; foster relationships between youth and health services; and mass media education among young people.

“It was rather informative and engaging, and covered a lot of what the Ministry hopes or seeks to embark on. I hope that whatever was said will be executed and followed up by our youth leaders because we are in community spread and it is important that we play our part in mitigating the community spread from our level,” Jordan Dressikie, president of the Balaclava Police Youth Club, said of the programme launch.

He added that he and his team would be headed into his community in the coming days to distribute care packages, together with the local poor relief inspector.

UWI Mona Guild Faculty of Law Representative 2020/2021, Jhenelle Small (Photo: Twitter @jhenelle_small)

Jhenelle Small, president of the Mona Law Society, said she felt “energised” by the event.

“It (the programme) is an opportunity to get engaged and so I am very happy and very impressed that the Ministry has decided to do this. As a student leader and in partnership with the Guild Council of the University of the West Indies, we will be doing everything in our power to assist in the fight against COVID-19,” Small added.

Tufton said he was certain the programme would succeed in its various youth-led activities and in the public health interest.

“The vitality, courage and persistence of youth has always served society. I know that now, when we need that vitality, courage and persistence, our youths will rise to the occasion, helping us to win the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

“The fact that they took the time to participate in Friday’s event is evidence of their willingness to do so and the Ministry is here to support them,” he added.


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