On 5 March 2019 YHP launched in Mexico as a partnership between AstraZeneca, Project HOPE, civil society organisation Yo Quiero Yo Puedo and the National Cancer Institute.
The aim is to transform the lives of young people in four districts of the nation’s capital Mexico City by helping young people to change their behaviours - especially the use of tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity.
The programme will also address other barriers to healthy living, such as pollution, and will promote education on sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and mental health issues.
(Left to right) Dr Abelardo Meneses Garcia, Director General of the National Institute of Cancerology (INCan), Sylvia Varela, Director General & President, AstraZeneca Mexico and Dr Armanda Ruiz Massieu, President of Fundación ISSSTE
In doing this it is building on the experience of using peer-educators in the very well-established YHP programmes in India and Brazil that have worked with hundreds of thousands of young people since 2010.
The importance of the focus on prevention was underlined by Dr. Abelardo Meneses, General Director of the National Cancer Institute (INCan):
With prevention and research, we will be able to determine protection mechanisms and / or timely diagnosis to fulfil the commitments that led to the creation of the National Cancer Institute. Today, we reaffirm those commitments in a national context, in favour of our youth
Jose Manuel Besares Lopez, MPH YHP Scholar, & OYW Coordinating Ambassador for Central America
With 70% of premature deaths from NCDs arising from behaviours taken up in adolescence, the emphasis is on helping Mexico’s young people to take action now.
We know that helping young people make good choices in their lifestyle today may lead to better health as adults
said Chris Skopec, Executive Vice President of Project HOPE.
The Mexican Government has already shown its commitment to innovative prevention measures with consumption taxes on energy dense foods and drinks, but the challenge is immense – especially addressing youth obesity which has been rising fast.
The most important challenge for AstraZeneca and for the health system in Mexico is prevention. Our commitment is to young Mexicans so that through education, research and social programs we create a culture of prevention in the country. We want to contribute positively to new generations,
said Sylvia Varela, Country President of AstraZeneca Mexico.
The programme will reach 46,000 young people aged 10-24 directly through 27 schools and universities, and will train almost 500 peer educators and community agencies.