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CENTRalized struggle for youth health in Belarus

UNFPA, Minsk, 14 August 2006 - By the end of 2006 preparation for opening Youth Health Centers in all Belarus’ regions will have been completed. By today 4 centers have been opened in Gomel, Mogilyov, Grodno and Soligorsk. They will be followed by new centers in Borisov, Vileika, Zhodino, Molodechno and Slutsk scheduled for opening in September.

Youth Health Centers are being created on the legal basis of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health of Belarus and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) of 5 August 2003 on implementation of a project “Improved and Extended Access to Youth Reproductive Health Services and Information”.

“The idea of Youth Health Centers creation is not a “know-how” in Belarus. One could call teenagers’ consulting rooms at adult clinics as youth health centers prototypes. The centers are also established on the premises of a city clinic, a diagnostics center or any other healthcare organization. Yet the tasks of youth health centers are broader. Our idea is to provide young people with medical care and psychological assistance, answer questions which are vital to them, help arrange a healthy life style. When applying an over-all approach, youth health centers are a new idea in Belarus”, UNFPA Coordinator in Belarus Tatiana Haplichnik informs.

To open a Youth Health Center, one needs to have at least two offices of an obstetrician-gynecologist’s and a psychologist’s equipped in compliance with normative requirements. There should also be an andrologist/urologist available to take care of boys and young males. Depending on capacities of a healthcare organization, other functional offices could be added: consulting suite, reproductive health and modern contraception office, healthy life style room, educational class.

The center staff should comprise its head and two specialists at the minimum. The specialists undergo training in accordance with the programme “Consulting Teenagers and Young People on Reproductive Health Issues” – the first such programme in Belarus aimed at physicians’ youth work training.

Young people and teenagers visit the centers with different questions: sexual maturity and interrelations of the two sexes, contraception and pregnancy, nicotine, drug and alcohol addiction, real or imagined health problems, etc.

Since the establishment of the first centers a year ago, over 2400 young people have received individual specialist advice. Centers specialists have conducted about 200 workshops and round table discussions on reproductive health issues. Future physicians have an opportunity to attend an optional course “Consulting Teenagers and Young People on Reproductive Health Issues” included in the syllabus of medical high schools and universities. The course has been approved by the Ministry of Health of Belarus.

“As statistics show, for the past 10 years the youth sickness rate has surged by 30.9 per cent. Youth health is under special attention in Belarus. The Government is currently considering a draft National programme on demographic security for 2006-2010. Our activities are not global, but very concrete. The idea of youth health centers creation has been supported by regional healthcare departments. Moreover, the Minsk region department of health protection opens new centers beyond the project framework, while applying the UNFPA experience. It means the idea is working”, Tatiana Haplichnik says.

Short reference: UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every maternity is safe, every young person’s health is protected, every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. UNFPA was created in 1969. It started its activities in Belarus in 1994.


For additional information, please, contact Tatiana Haplichnik at 227-45-27 or visit our web-site www.un.by/unfpa.

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