The Vanuatu Family Health Association (VFHA) recently organised a successful conference at Paton Memorial Church (PMC), focusing on the critical issues surrounding Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Sexual Reproductive Health in society.

The event aimed to provide a platform for stakeholders to address these concerns and offer guidance and support to the youth.

Lionel Aru, the Youth Coordinator of the VFHA, reflected on their commitment to coordinating and implementing programs that primarily assist young people.

“Our organisation has collaborated with partners and stakeholders to exchange ideas and learn from their experiences in addressing these issues through their respective programs,” stated Mr. Aru. He said the Association’s focus is on sexual reproductive health and rights, particularly concerning the prevalent issue of unwanted pregnancies among young girls. The aim was to share stories that would help young people make informed decisions and plans for their lives.

The conference aimed to gather the youth from the five wards of Port Vila, enabling them to listen to the guest speakers and reflect on the work done with young people. Mr. Aru explained that the event fostered group discussions where participants shared their thoughts, comments, and engaged in debates. The ultimate goal was to develop an implementation plan or a way forward in addressing the concerns of young people.

Mr. Aru stressed the significance of prioritising health when making plans for the future. He encouraged youth to seek information, whether related to employment or personal well being, to ensure they can create bright and satisfying futures. The conference theme, “Act for Young People’s Wellbeing,” underscored the need to take action and achieve set targets and goals.

The conference’s objective was to address the rising cases of STIs and cervical cancers in Vanuatu while also focusing on assisting unemployed youth with skills to find employment. Mr. Aru hoped that attending youth would gain valuable insights and lessons from the conference, enabling them to perceive things differently in a positive light.

For young people feeling disengaged or unemployed, Mr. Aru highlighted several organisations available to provide support and guidance, such as Youth Challenge Vanuatu (YCV), Vanuatu Society for People with Disability (VSDP), and the National Youth Council (NYC). He urged youth to seek information, counseling, and utilise available plans that can shape their future.

The VFHA welcomed youth to acquire information willingly, emphasising the importance of personal decision-making.

The VFHA, as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), collaborates with the NYC, YCV, Ministry of Health, VSDP, and other partners to fulfill their shared goals and aspirations.