On April 10, leaders from Jamaica’s Ministries of Health and Education, the mayor of Trelawny, and a representative of MSD (Merck) in the Caribbean joined INMED to formally launch the new Community Health Awareness for Adolescent Reproductive and Maternal Care (CHAARM) program at Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny, Jamaica.
INMED’s youth health aides are reaching out to their peers in Trelawny to promote resproductive health and positive choices.
The CHAARM project, implemented by INMED with support from the Merck for Mothers program, will raise awareness of critical adolescent maternal and reproductive health issues and increase access to care among high-risk youth in Trelawny Parish, which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.
“More than one in every four births in Trelawny are to teens, and yet adolescent pregnancy remains associated with such stigma in Jamaica that more than half of pregnant teens do not seek early prenatal care, putting them and their babies at risk for complications,” says INMED President Dr. Linda Pfeiffer. “Through the CHAARM program, we can reach both male and female adolescents with relevant, judgment-free education on a wide range of reproductive health issues to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and link them to vital health services when they need them most.”
Trained youth health aides will carry out community-based outreach, education and a mobile health campaign, disseminating information as the first line of defense in preventing high-risk teenage pregnancies and ultimately adolescent maternal mortality. The health aides will serve as the entry point into communities, churches and schools for communicating information based upon national priorities and approved curricula to reach a large number of pregnant and non-pregnant teenage youth, as well as parents and community members, in order to dispel myths and overcome stigmas associated with teenage sexual activity and pregnancy.