Toshihide Tanaka writes:

There are many problems of health for school-age children and adolescents. The most important problem is that education about health for young pepole is inadequate. The lack of this education surely brings about unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These diseases are most frequent in younger, sexually active people, and these problems seem to be increasing worldwide. The highest rates reported by the World Health Organization for notifiable STDs are generally seen in the 20-24 age group, followed by those aged 15-19 and 25-29. Education is very important in terms of prevention against STDs and other diseases.

The next important problem is that there are not enough health services for young people, especially in developing countries. According to WHO, "AIDS, in particular, is having great effects on young people in the developing world. But many young people who are infected with HIV cannot take a check-up and suitable treatment at the hospital. Young people who are not even aware of their infections spread the disease further through sexual contact. This increases the prevalence of AIDS and keeps the disease in the forefront of world problems."

What can we in the Japanese medical commuinity do in order to improve these problems? We can educate young people and their teachers about the knowledge and danger of diseases, especially STDs. For instance, we can give them information about death rates from AIDs and about death rates of babies whose mothers gave birth in adolescence. In addition, we can teach them how to prevent these diseases, for example, how safe sexual practices can reduce risk of contracting AIDs. Furthermore, we in Japan and in other parts of the international medical commuinity have to train young people so that they are more self-sufficient and better educated in the impact of their behavior in order not to engage in dangerous sexual practices and maintain social morality. And we need to provide young people with medical services. For instance, we can go to them where they work or where they go to school and give them check-ups and treatment for a little fee or perhaps even for nothing.

Lastly, it may be advisable for our commuinity to develop new methods of treatment and teach people in developing countries to be doctors and nurses. One way to do this might be that volunteer doctors, nurses and medical students go to the places where the needs are most urgent and act in order to improve the situation. Doing this, we mainly can provide medical knowledge and skill but we do not have enough funds for this activity without outside help. So some help from the Japanese goverment or the host country where we go may be indispensable for our activity.

Other essays...