Nathalia Mendonça, intern under the supervision of Luiza Gomes (Cooperação Social da Fiocruz)
On August 4, the first debate of a cycle called Youths in Brazil: Emerging Dialogues for Health was broadcast live on the YouTube channel of Agenda Jovem Fiocruz. Marked by multidisciplinarity, the online program brings together activists, researchers from Fiocruz and other institutions, representatives of the Legislative, international agencies, universities, and project coordinators, to discuss themes regarding the health of Brazilian youths.
The panel that opened the event was attended by the vice-president of Education, Information and Communication (Vpeic/Fiocruz), Cristiani Machado (representing Fiocruz president, Nísia Trindade Lima); the coordinator of Social Cooperation of Fiocruz, Leonídio Santos; the officer of the Youth and HIV Humanitarian Program, of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), Caio Oliveira; and the president of the National Youth Council (Conjuve), Rafael Davi. The panel was mediated by Inês Fernandes, advisor of the Presidency of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.
The panel is avaible on YouTube (in Portuguese and Spanish)
In her speech, Cristiani Machado highlighted the role played by Fiocruz as an institution of science and technology in health, emphasizing its contribution to the field of public policies and social rights, in an interface with the great field of health, over the years. She also focused on the partnership with the United Nations Populations Fund, in a cooperation formalized in 2019 and that includes projects in the areas of youth, reproductive rights, and women’s health.
Cristiani mentioned that August is a symbolic month, not only for the International Youth Day: the program of meetings for the Youth Agenda takes place right after the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Brazilian Statute of Children and Adolescents (ECA, in the Portuguese acronym), on July 13 this year. According to Cristiani, the ECA was a fundamental milestone in Brazilian society. “Young people live the expressions of society’s structural inequalities in a very intense way. In the case of Latin America and Brazil, this is very evident, and is expressed as income, influenced by markers of race, gender, and in the possibilities of choice, in the opportunities available or not to these young people”, she said.
Leonídio Santos, coordinator of Fiocruz Social Cooperation, the presidency agency that provides institutional support to the Youth Agenda, highlighted the idea of “youth” as the subject of rights. “Starting with the Agenda, Fiocruz intends to stimulate dialogues between the fields of youth and health not only from the standpoint of building knowledge, but also of political action”, he stated.
Representing the United Nations Populations Fund, Caio Oliveira mentioned that today the world is home to the most numerous generation of young people in human history, and stated that public policies must take this fact into account, including youth as a driver of social development. “In order for these young people to reach their full potential, it is necessary to implement a set of political, budget and strategic actions that will actually manage to respond to the specific vulnerabilities of young people”, he explained. He also praised the work of the Youth Observatory, a recent UNFPA initiative that includes the partnership with the Fiocruz Youth Agenda, which has been working on indicators on the theme of youth and their vulnerabilities.
The historical relationship between youth and political mobilization was the subject of Rafael Davi’s speech - Davi is the president of the National Youth Council. According to him, in the past 10 to 15 years Brazil has had the smallest number of young people afilliated to political parties. “In this scenario, Conjuve and other organizations are wondering how to bring young people in to discuss and build youth policies”, he pondered. Davi also informed that in March 2020 the council created the Crisis Committee, in which entities joined forces to understand different scenarios on the aspect of health and public performance.
The second part of the meeting consisted of three panels: Youths and Health in Latin America (José Roberto Luna, technical specialist in adolescents and youth in the field of sexual and reproductive health at UNFPA/New York), Youths and Covid-19 (Andre Vieira, research and evaluation analyst at the Roberto Marinho Foundation), and Research on youths and health: a view from the Fiocruz standpoint (Simone Monteiro, of the research Work Group of the Youth Agenda for the Oswaldo Cruz Institute - IOC/Fiocruz).
According to Andre Vieira, phD candidate at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and representative of the Roberto Marinho Foundation, the research Youths and the Coronavirus Pandemic was made with the goal of assessing awareness among young people of different regions and social situations on the pandemic and its effects. More than 33,000 interviews were made with young people all over Brazil, including aspects related to inclusion in the labor market, education, health, and well-being. Groups of young researcher were active collaborators in these research groups.
According to the UNPFA research Youths and Health in Latin America and the Caribbean, the region is the most unequal in the world and is home to approximately 165 million young people. José Roberto Luna presented La situación de las juventudes (The situation of youths) and stated that “health is a political element fully related to a series of areas that criss-cross, such as inequality, opportunities, employability and others”. Data collection showed information and percentages on education, sexual and reproductive health, employability, poorness, ethnical-racial and gender issues, violence, and other analysis factors.
André Sobrinho, mediator of the debate and coordinator of the Youth Agenda, once again mentioned the importance of opening new spaces so that young people can live their protagonism and effectively influence institutions.
Young people in Fiocruz studies
Simone Monteiro, representing the Work Group of research for the Youth Agenda, presented State of Knowledge of Fiocruz Scientific Production on Youth and Health. The data collection intended to map characteristics of scientific prodution at Fiocruz on subjects such as teenage and youth during the years between 2006 and 2016, a period marked by changes in youth policies in Brazil. The research is a collective effort of researchers who work with the subject from different Units of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.
Four hundred and ninety-five (495) documents were classified, among which the most commonly studies subjects were transmissible and non-transmissible diseases, sexuality and reproduction, violence and accidents, public policies, nutrition, drugs, disabilities, and hospitalization. The research will be available soon at Fiocruz website.