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Opinion / Editorial

Elona Gjebrea: Youth and the pandemic, consequences on sexual and mental health

Elona Gjebrea: Youth and the pandemic, consequences on sexual and mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way of life for all citizens. Psychological and sexual consequences are already the subject of a number of studies around the world. Social distancing was necessary and one of the most restrictive measures, bringing subsequent consequences on the sexual health of young people and not only this category. The fact is that the Covid-19 pandemic created another "online pandemic" in itself. In this situation, young people often turn to where you can find answers to anything, but without excluding inaccurate and disturbing information, specifically in Internet search engines. Given these data studied by a well-designed methodology by Noverna Analytics and Research, The Albanian Center for Population and Development (CDPD) held a National Conference to present the regional study "Youth access to services, information and education for sexual and reproductive health during the COVID-19 pandemic" in order to share the findings of the study on access to services and information and the role of integrated digital services, with a focus on communities living in remote areas and in disadvantaged social conditions, sharing recommendations and good practices. The conference was attended by senior representatives of state institutions such as Prof. Mira Rakacolli, Vol. Minister of Health and Social Protection, Dr. Nina Guga, Vol. Minister of Education, Sports and Youth, Dr. Klodiana Spahiu, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Health and Social Affairs and Mr. Kadri Gashi, Executive Director of the partner organization SIT, Kosovo, representatives of UNFPA, IPH, civil society actors and young people from Tirana, Shkodra, Vlora. Suggestions from this national conference relate to access to health services, their provision for categories in need such as Roma and Egyptians, and the extension of the sexual education role of children in schools. An important role is played by the awareness of young people and their parents that in addition to a global physical and mental pandemic, there is already an "online pandemic" that should be treated with priority. Meanwhile, representatives of the institutions concluded that the cooperation of the Parliament with the Civil Society has started and anyone can join and that new strategies are being included to include special modules that will help young people with disabilities.