Health is a dynamic process affected and determined by biopsychosocial interplays between an individual and his or her environment. In consideration, for the past few weeks YCI GH11-6A Youth Ambassadors have collaborated with YCI-YMCA mentors, health professionals, and youth associations to organize a health awareness community initiative in the community of Effiduase, Koforidua Ghana. The event took place on June 11, 2011.

It was attended by community chiefs, Assemblyman Honourable Boakye, Municipal Youth Coordinators, ninety youth delegates from three high schools, educators, nurses, and delegates from youth groups.

In planning for the event, the decision was made to design a program that was informative, yet engaging and interactive.  To achieve this, information pertaining to STIs, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, cholera, malaria, and tuberculosis were related through speeches, music, and plays. A key highlight of the program included two musical features by a local band, Kof Town Records, which talked about malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

Following a formal presentation on the health topics, youth had the opportunity to visit several health booths: games; STIs and condom demonstration; tuberculosis (TB), cholera, and malaria; nutrition and sanitation; health screening for HIV/AIDS and TB; and lastly a resource table where each youth was given a resource kit. Each resource kit included a fact sheet on STIs, hepatitis B, diarrhea, and hand washing; hand sanitizer; male and female condoms; and lube.

During the distribution of resource kits, one youth out of every 10 was asked to complete a short evaluation of the event and some were asked to provide a testimonial. The evaluations and testimonials consisted of five questions phrased to determine whether the information conveyed was relevant and timely, and if anything was excluded that they wanted to learn, or if there were any topics they wanted information on that were not covered. Analysis of the evaluation reported that the majority of youth found the information about nutrition, sanitation, tuberculosis, cholera, and malaria to be most informative and useful. It was surprising to learn that of the youth evaluated only 25 percent visited the STI station. When asked why, the rational was that there were too many people at the station.

Going forward, the youth that attended this event will be organizing information sessions at their respective high school or youth association to disseminate the information to peers who were unable to attend the Health Awareness Community Initiative. As health is a dynamic process, it behoves each person to enhance his or her own wellbeing and educate others in order to collectively heighten the health of a community.

- Sasha Jordan, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2011. Sasha Jordan, a nursing student with a passion for health promotion and preventive medicine.

For more volunteer blogs, check out our Travel Diary category.

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