Officials of the Urban Renewal Commission, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) joined forces (Saturday, November 23) to host a one-day World (Universal) Children’s Day Healthy Lifestyles Seminar, as part of the Ministry’s observance of World Children’s Day. They were joined by representatives from the Healthy Bahamas Coalition, which serves as the National Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Commission for The Bahamas. The Coalition provides a “mechanism for effective multi-sectoral action in prevention and control of NCDs at the national level” through re-orienting and strengthening the national response, especially with regard to risk factors.
The primary tasks of the Healthy Bahamas Coalition (HBS) is to advise the Government of The Bahamas, generate networks for communication that link the three sectors – public, private and civil society — and to communicate with and inform the wider community regarding actions required to decrease the national burden of NCDs. Held at the Marjorie Davis Institute for Special Education (formerly Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School), the Healthy Lifestyles Seminar was attended by more than 150 children from the ten urban communities in New Providence in which Urban Renewal Centres are located, and capped off the Ministry’s celebrations of World Children’s Day.
Discussions/presentations centred on the rights of children as found in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (also known as the CRC or the UNCRC) including the right to recreation and physical activity, nutritious food/clean water, a clean environment, and health-related children’s rights, among a number of other activities designed to create even greater awareness among participants. Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell applauded the collaboration. He told the participants that the observance of World Children’s Day was a special event.
“That celebration is not just talk. That celebration manifests itself in ways to ensure that children and grown-ups alike are aware that children have rights; among them the right to an education, a child’s right to healthcare, the right to family life, the right to play and recreation, the right to an adequate standard of living, a child’s right not to be exploited, and the right to be protected from abuse and harm.” The Convention also speaks to a child’s right to develop their potential in all situations and at all times. It also speaks to a child’s right to be able to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate. The Convention obliges States Parties and Signatories to allow parents to exercise their parental responsibilities. Minister Campbell advised the participants that recognizing that responsibility comes with rights is crucial. The Minister also used the opportunity to address participants about the efforts the Ministry and its partners and stakeholders are undertaking as they relate to child abuse prevention.