Located at the University of the Pacific, the "Conversatorio" was held to discuss a new social contract advocating for the dignity of all children. This event looked to bring public attention to the movement of working children in Peru, and to discuss the different successes and challenges faced by children 25 years after the development of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, the important contribution that children and adolescents can make in the construction of public policy was addressed.
Organized completely by two 17-yr old delegates from the National Movement for Child and Adolescent workers, the "Conversatorio" featured speakers from Save the Children, The Department of Social Development in Lima, and delegates from MNNATSOP themselves. In addition, Alejandro Cussianovich (Author on "Protagonismo Infantil") joined to discuss the future of the child movement in Peru.
~ Stigmatization of Child and Adolescent workers as lower class citizens
~Many times Child and Adolescent workers are seen as social problems instead of members of society.
Protection and Safety
~Children don’t feel protected by the police
~Domestic violence within families
~Concept of victimizing the victim
~Access to quality education
~Does working interfere with education?
~Access to healthcare is difficult
~Children are unable to access health services without ID cards or an adult accompanying them (many times they are lacking both).
~Reproductive and Mental Health: Services are needed in both of these areas
~Children don’t trust or feel that they are able to confide in Healthcare professionals.
Overall, MNNATSOP believes in the RIGHT of children and adolescents to work in dignified conditions. They want to move forward as a united organization to influence public policy and build a free and fair society in which they can work as dignified people in dignified conditions.
Without respect for the dignity of child and adolescent workers, dignity for the rest of society is a mere illusion.
I attended the conference on its final day, and was able to join in with a group of Family Medicine residents as they discussed external rotations they had completed outside of Peru (including one resident who had completed a rotation at Duke with Dr. Martinez-Bianchi). In addition, residents were asked to review and critique the outline of the Family Medicine curriculum at the university, and I was invited to sit in on the small group discussions on this topic. I also learned about Waynakay, a movement of young Family medicine doctors from Latin America. Derived from the native Andean language of Quechua, "Waynakay" means "Youth", and the mission of this organization is to "Strengthen Family Medicine in Latin American countries, promoting leadership, medical education, research and exchange among young physicians specializing in Family Medicine".
Family and Community Medicine is an emerging and relatively new specialty in Peru. It was motivating to see how enthusiastic, passionate, and dedicated those who attended the conference were on advancing this specialty and reaching out to the community to engage with patients. This was especially inspiring to me, as I had just come from a conference that discussed the lack of community health programs for children and the disconnect between healthcare providers and their patients. The doctors that I met at the conference are looking to address these issues and I have complete faith in them as leaders of change. There is great potential and capacity for the future of community health in Peru. I left the conference feeling excited about working in family/community medicine, and was inspired to work just a little bit harder during my time here.