Medicine, Mind and Adolescence, 1993 - 1994 - VIII, 2 - IX,1

Prevention targeting young people: a global strategy. outcomes after a multilateral meeting

Alberto Pellai, Tommaso Pilato

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Between May, 30, 1993, and June, 2, 1993, an international meeting organized by two Italian N.G.O.s (A.L.A. and A.N.V.I.T.) was held in Bucharest. The title of the meeting was: "Prevention targeting young people: a global strategy". Delegations from 6 different countries- Albania, Austria, Bulgary, Hungary, Italy, Romania- came to work out and discuss strategic lines to give young people a better knowledge, awareness and active capability to become self-promoters of their own state of well being. A special attention was focused on A.I.D.S. and drug abuse.

The meeting allowed to understand that the epidemiological situation of the 6 countries involved is different and presents specific aspects which rely on the special and unique socio-political situation of every country. For example, Albania showed the absence of the problem of A.I.D.S., while Bulgaria presented a very effective surveillance system that, in reality, proved to be too expensive, considering the low incidence and prevalence rate of this disease in that nation. Romania is dealing with the delicate problem of paediatric A.I.D.S., being the nation that alone presents half the number of the cases of paediatric A.I.D.S. which are present all over Europe. Austria and Italy actually reported an epidemiological situation that can be considered similar to that of the other countries in Western Europe.

Every nation came to Bucharest bringing a report of the prevention experiences implemented when targeting young people. Special emphasis was put on the need to start at a very early stage by targeting young children with programs of global health education, to be implemented in pre-school and elementary school. In this sense, we thought that the Bulgarian experience of the network of health promoting schools was of particular interest and presented goals quite similar to those of programs presented by Italy and Romania. Anyway adolescents and young people are a very special part of our society who require particular attention of which must be met with initiatives that imply active participation and use creative languages and forms of expression

A special emphasis was put in underlying the role that mass media have in all prevention aspects which affect young people. Mass media are a relevant part of everyone's daily life and seem to make a big impact on the choice of behaviours and values on behalf of young people. Italy, through the presentation of its national campaigns against drug abuse, showed how a prevention strategy must evolve, starting from a very general target and modifying its message, by adapting it to the major awareness that the previous campaign has produced. All the involved nations have stressed the importance of national campaigns to spread information and reach young people. Many of them denounced scarce collaboration between the institutional levels and the world of mass media.

These and many other outcomes from the meeting will be presented at the Conference.

Alberto Pellai, Tommaso Pilato: "Prevention Targeting Young People: a Global Strategy. Outcomes after a Multilateral Meeting". Paper presented at the First International Congress of Adolescentology, Assisi, Italy, October 22-24, 1993.

Key Words: Prevention, Adolescence, N.G.O.

Alberto Pellai: Medical Doctor - Institute of Hygiene - Milano State University, via Pascal, 36 - 20133 MILANO
Tommaso Pilato: Biologist - A.L.A. Associazione Nazionale Italiana Lotta A.I.D.S.

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