Region to Host First Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health

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The Region will host its first Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 15–17 October 2019. The theme of the Congress is ‘Championing our wealth: promoting the health and well-being of adolescents and youth in the Caribbean’.

Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes ORTT, President of Trinidad and Tobago, will be the feature speaker. Ms. Kim Simplis-Barrow, First Lady of Belize and Chair, Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General and Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO Director are expected to deliver remarks during the opening ceremony on 14 October 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port-of-Spain.

Young people have been identified as critical to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The SDGs’ agenda and the Global Strategy for the health of Women, Children and Adolescent (GSWCAH, 2016 – 2030) bring new commitments and mandates that directly affect the positioning of young people in the global and regional health and development agenda.

According to 2015 estimates, there are 10.8 million young people (10-24 years) in the Caribbean, representing 25% of the total population, and 7.2 million adolescents (10-19 years), representing 17% of the total population. The Region continues to recognise the disparities in the burden of poverty, underemployment and unemployment, secondary school enrollment and completion rates, as well as the financial and societal barriers young people face to access health information and quality health services that respond to their needs.

Additionally, there are especially vulnerable youth who face additional levels of marginalisation, such as adolescents with disabilities, HIV positive youth, migrant and socially-displaced adolescents, and those who identify along the LGBTQI spectrum.

The congress, which is organised by a consortium of regional partners, including youth leaders, is expected to increase awareness on issues that are negatively affecting the health and well-being of adolescent and youth in the Caribbean. It is anticipated that the Congress will help to mobilise greater investment for the promotion and protection of the health and well-being of all adolescents and young people in the Caribbean.

Approximately 200 participants are expected to attend, including youth from around the Caribbean, CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, youth from within key populations, youth development leaders, public health leaders, social activists, and regional civil society representatives.

The congress is structured to ensure that the voices and concerns of youth in the region are heard through their active participation as organisers of special sessions, moderators, and panellists. The congress will also encompass building the capacity of youths to advocate for issues related to adolescent and youth health at the regional and country-level through increased knowledge and awareness of current best practices, new tools and skill-sets applicable to the region.

The Congress is expected to result in regional commitment from participants on a vision and core principles to address the health needs of adolescents and youth ages 10 – 24 years in the Caribbean, as well as action plans based on current and emerging priorities for adolescent and youth health.

The event will serve as an impetus for policymakers to begin the discussion on how to improve and sustain investments in the health and well-being of adolescents and youth in the Caribbean.

Timothy Austin
Communications Specialist
PANCAP Coordinating Unit
CARICOM Secretariat
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409 | Visit

Helpful links:
• PAHO Plan of Action for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health
• Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health
• Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health Facebook page:
• PANCAP Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health web page:
• Global AIDS Update 2018 – Miles to Go:

Editor’s notes


A consortium of regional partners has collaborated to plan and support the Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health. These include the Caribbean Association for Adolescent Health, International Association for Adolescent Health, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Caribbean Development Bank, Caribbean Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development’s Youth Campaign, PANCAP Youth Advocacy Network, Caribbean Regional Youth Council, NCD Child, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), CARICOM Youth Department, Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), Commonwealth Youth Council, Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), Dance4Life Barbados, CARICOM Youth Ambassador Corps, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT), International Planned Parenthood Federation/WHR,United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC).


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