Keeping a watchful eye on youth

Editorial, Normal

The National, Friday November 6th, 2015

 TODAY our challenge to have good mental happiness is simply how well we understand the investment initiate into our children. 

The regular columnist in our Health Watch section Dr Uma Ambi has always stressed the importance of allowing our mind to be free and not to get caught up in a situation that bears little importance to your life; Keep life simple and do enjoy the simple things of life. 

It is an essential question to answer when the ongoing  social economic indicators are moving in the reverse direction; the law and order problems, unrest, ethnic group violence and youth violence to emphasise a few.  

It is only practical and is about time for each family, community and government to seriously consider about child and adolescent. 

They are our future and we must invest in adolescent health and nurture this development. 

The past the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Director, Shigeru Omi, in his address, described that: “Youths are like butterflies. 

“They go through a transition period that is full of potential, yet fragile. 

“They need nurturing and care, and safe and supportive environment to grow and develop.”

Dr Ambi said: “It is my opinion that it is like the colours of the butterflies’ wings, our youths too are ‘colourful’ they have boundless energy, ideas, enthusiasm, ambitions and potential. 

“They are without doubt important assets and resources; they are our future and our hope.” 

Healthy youths are highly productive thus the burden in the society will be reduced. 

Youth is categorised as a person between 10 and 19 years of age. 

Youths carry the highest risks of morbidity and mortality from accidents, injuries, early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Lifestyles such as smoking, risky sexual behaviour, alcohol and drug dependency have their ways to direct other energy to high risk behaviour. 

Youths and each and every family should realise that healthy developed youths who are responsible with great life skills, will make productive adults with longer working lives and increased productivity causing endless progress.

In Papua New Guinea, we have more than 800 different languages and cultures but the youths are immune to these cultures as they face puberty, rapid emotional development and increasing independence. 

They live in different situations with different needs and wants. 

This surely is the critical time where rapid physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual development needs to be tended to. 

The rate at which these changes occur in some key events makes them to be “the very individuals in the societies they represent”.

Culture, social and economic backgrounds are some of the major factors, which influence the development of any youths.

More often than not youths are healthy because they have survived childhood related diseases. 

Whatever said and done they are exposed to health and development risks because of poverty, gender- based discrimination mistreatment, war violence, social and economic changes and risky behaviour. 

The consequences of sexually transmitted disease, HIV, early and unwanted pregnancy, mental disorders, reduced capacity for learning; and in adulthood- non-communicable disease, such as diabetes, heart diseases, obesity among youths, accidents, violence, suicide, pregnancy related complications or other forms of illnesses are quantifiable cost to our society. 

Many of these are preventable, so how do we ensure the youths are caged with a healthy development. 

WHO’s definition of health is a state of “complete physical, mental and social well-being” which simply suggest that it is not prevention and treatment of disease and disability that only guarantees this but the promotion of safety, security, self-esteem, applicable education standards and skills development are an integral component to achieve a ‘perfect square’.

It is a task that will require all stakeholders from parents, schools, non-governmental organisations,  churches, the responsible government departments and the Government of the day to address. 

Parents, however, must take the lead.