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  • Isabella Saleu

Students highlight role of young people during pandemic

Port Moresby: The Chat Room Program for the year kicked off on Wednesday 2nd March 2022, with students from Jubilee Catholic Secondary School (JCSS) who spoke on the topic “Role of Youths against COVID-19.”



All 5 students from the Eleventh Grade spoke with confidence and much conviction live on radio at the TribeFM Studio, Boroko.


Cameron Pala was the first speaker who started off with a brief history on COVID-19. He explained that according to the World Health Organization, “Covid” was a combination of the words ‘corona’, ‘virus’ and ‘disease’. He highlighted that the name corona was an old Latin word meaning ‘crown’ because of its spike-like appearance.

He explained that it was called Covid19 because in 2019, Wuhan in China had its first outbreak and from there the virus spread across the world reaching Papua New Guinea’s shores in 2020.


Highlighting the symptoms of the virus was seventeen-year-old Frank Nouairi who said although they were similar to symptoms of a normal cough and cold, it is advised by WHO to seek medical attention, especially during this time.


“There are the most common symptoms, the less common and the most serious and that is why you have to educate yourself to know and act soon when you feel any way as described. The more serious symptoms are breathing difficulties and persisting sore throat apart from chest pain, fever and fatigue,” he said.


Giving the importance of why young people had to be well equipped with information regarding the virus was Geno Puana Gavu. She said that since young people were the most active members of society who were always moving about and interacting, they had a much higher chance of contracting Covid19 and even worse passing it on to the older members of their families.


She added, “If young people are educated on the issue, they know what to do and how to avoid it. For this case, they would know and understand the protocols and put them into practice, so they protect themselves and their families.”


When asked by the host for Chat Room and radio announcer for NBC, Raymond Polon, how youths in PNG could make a difference, Talitha Babola responded that even though we could urge our young people to use initiatives, it would not be appropriate to generalize all youths as there are a lot of barriers, especially for youths in rural areas.


She stressed that while youths between the ages of 18-25 in the urban areas would fit the category as secondary or tertiary students who had in their means to educate themselves and use that knowledge to make awareness and seek funds from the government or private donors to do something, the same would not be said for the same aged group in the villages.


“In the cities, we are educated so our culture is not really an obstacle but for those young people in the villages, they are denied the role to make decisions or even to speak out on a current issue. The elders think just because they are young, they are inexperienced and therefore their views and ideas are irrelevant. So, whilst we in urban areas are educated and doing something, sadly our people back at home seem to be way back,” she said.


Concluding their discussion was Joyda Mokiri who made very strong recommendations to parents to take up the role in educating their children on current affairs and how it would affect us and ways to prevent it. She said that parents should not be lazy and depend on social media for information but be updated with reliable sources on the latest news with Covid19 and tell their children.

“As young people also, we should not say that we are young and our immune systems are much stronger and healthier. Coronavirus is real and it’s affecting and killing people,” she stressed.


She also made a call to the government to create more platforms for young people to action out their ideas and plans.


“We as young people could do a lot if we were provided with the support needed to reach out to others because we can make a huge impact.”


The dialogue with students from JCSS was proudly sponsored by WaterAid PNG, an affiliate of the International Non-Profit Humanitarian Organisation WaterAid.


Chat Room’s next session on Wednesday 9th March, will have students of Marianville Secondary School take on the topic ‘COVID-19 Pandemic and Opportunity for Youth Engagement’.



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