National Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health in Palestine

Ramallah – For two consecutive days starting on Monday, May 7, 2018, Juzoor for Health and Social Development held a National Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health in Schools, with the theme “Youth at Crossroads,” which carried the slogan, “one million youth in Palestine need to pass the adolescence stage safely.” The conference took place in Elite Hall in Ramallah and was attended by high-level representatives, government and international sectors, and the United Nations Population Fund.  In partnership with Save the Children International and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the conference was sponsored by the Minister of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), Dr. Sabri Saidam, the Consulate General of Italy in Jerusalem, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and the Arab Coalition for Adolescent Health.
During these two days, the conference highlighted the importance of integrating reproductive and sexual health programs for adolescents in Palestinian schools. It also emphasized on the importance of continuing the dialogue between leaders in the education and health sectors and other sectors, in order to implement comprehensive programs that would allow education systems to include curricular and non- curricular activities, which aim to introduce reproductive and sexual health for adolescents. The conference also provided opportunities for the participants to learn about successful local and international models, initiatives and lessons learned that can be institutionalized.  Also, it encouraged using social media tools to share informational messages to provide a dynamic and interactive space to raise awareness on reproductive health among school-going adolescents. Such suggestions were proposed to be implemented in cooperation between national partners, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. 
The conference also focused on the best practices of social media platforms and the importance to raise awareness about its challenges. It also focused on the importance of partnership and cooperation between various developmental sectors and international & local civil society organizations in order to combine their efforts and work towards enhancing reproductive and sexual health in Palestine. 
It is also worth noting that the conference presented important studies from different Arab countries like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt which helped enrich the theme of the conference by sharing and exchanging various experiences from other countries.    
In the last session of the conference, key recommendations and conclusions were presented which addressed the importance of integrating reproductive and sexual health in Palestinian educational curriculums.  Also, a committee was formed to follow up on the recommendations and come up with practical steps in developing this area. The committee includes members from national and international organizations in addition to experts in the field of reproductive and sexual health.