The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says that half of all deaths of young people, aged between 10-24, in the Caribbean are due to homicide, road traffic fatalities and suicide – all of which are preventable.
PAHO in a report titled “The Health of Adolescents and Youth in the Americas: Implementation of the Regional Strategy and Plan of Action on Adolescent and Youth Health 2010-2018,” analyzes the latest available data related to the health of young people from 48 countries and territories in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
The report includes information on what the young people die from, what illnesses they suffer from, their sexual and reproductive health, substance use, nutrition and levels of physical activity.
“While progress has been made across the region towards ensuring greater access to health care, many of the interventions to prevent young people from dying before their time fall outside the health sector”, said Dr Carissa F. Etienne, the Dominican-born director of PAHO.
“We must increase efforts across all sectors to ensure that young people not only survive, but thrive,” she added.
PAHO said around 237 million young people aged 10-24 years live in the Americas, comprising a quarter of the region’s population and that, despite representing such a huge priority demographic, however, youth mortality rates have only slightly reduced between 2000 and 2015.
The report notes that 80 per cent of the 230,000 deaths per year of young people in the region occur among males, including nine out of 10 deaths due to homicide, four out of five road transit fatalities, and three out of four suicides.