The second session of roundtable discussions of the World Conference on Youth (WCY) 2014 was held Wednesday afternoon at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Hall (BMICH) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
“Promoting Healthy Lives and Access to Health” was among the seven topics the participants deliberated at length. Three speakers headed the discussion and shared their views on the topic: Director General of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health Ministry Dr. Palitha Maheepala, Mr. Pedro Miranda of the International Federation of Medical Students' Association and Director at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Office Mr. Anindit Roy Chowdhury.
Non-communicable diseases (NCD's) were given more attention as it was a main reason behind youth fatalities. Smoking, consumption of alcohol and obesity are some of the main NCD's prevalent around the world.
Mr. Miranda underlined the importance of involving youth in policy-making to effectively find solutions to these problems. He said that solutions for youth issues come up from within the youth. Half of the worlds' HIV-infected population amounts to youth, Miranda added.
Commenting on the topic, Dr. Maheepala pointed out that according to the United Nations, health is a right, and people have the right to be healthy. He further stated it is important to implement preventionmechanisms for youth problems.
Mr. Chowdhury said services provided for the youth to address their problems should be crafted with them in mind.
"You cannot ask them to fill forms and wait in queues, Mr. Chowdhury said. “They will not do that.”
Replying to a question raised by a delegate from Britain on road accidents being one of the main causes of youth fatalities, Dr. Maheepala said that it has been identified as a problem. Thereby, health organizations around the world have declared road accidents as an acute non-communicable disease.
The speakers emphasized the importance of changing the social stigma towards youth issues, thus making an environment conducive to addressing youth issues.