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Published On: Fri, Nov 8th, 2019

Population Foundation of India organises special workshop in Jaipur with a focus on adolescent health

Jaipur, November, 2019. For a state where every fourth person is between the age group 10-19 years, the 1.57 crore adolescents of Rajasthan represent a huge opportunity for the state to transform its social and economic profile. But experts insist this is possible only if substantial investment is made to improve the health of this young demographic. 

Speaking at a special workshop organised by the Population Foundation of India in Rajasthan today, Dr Amita Kashyap who is the Head of Department, PSM, SMS Medical College said, that with the advent of technology adolescents have got access to the content which was earlier not easily available for them. Emphasising on the need of comprehensive health education Dr Amita said, “easy availability of content to satiate their curiosity, puts adolescents at increased risk. So it increases responsibility of service providers to provide bigger vision and accurate knowledge. For this, we have to go to the people within the community and media can play a crucially productive role in providing healthy, safe and productive life to adolescents through responsible reporting.”

Dr Kashyap’s concerns are valid given that the Centre’s key initiative – adolescents who are 23% of state population have different needs than young people or children. This is the transition phase for adolescents between childhood and adultdhood. More than one-third of all girls in the state are married before they turn 18. Prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls is as high as 49% compared to 22% of adolescent boys.

Government is implementing Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) in ten focus districts of Rajasthan and plans to strengthen it in other districts as well. There are several other initiatives taken by government to strengthen the counselling services for adolescents, this includes convergence with other departments to maximize reach.

Explaining the situation at the grassroot level, Mr. Om from Jatan Sansthan – an NGO that has been working with young people for nearly two decades, said that, to make people aware about comprehensive health education we need to inform them in people’s language. Sharing his experience of working in south Rajasthan he said that adolescents are lacking right information about adolescent and reproductive sexual health. Taboos attached with reproductive health, absence of supportive infrastructure and lack of the knowledge about products of management are challenges to be addressed. “Media can play vital role in providing information, to increase awareness about adolescent and reproductive health to find sustainable solution of these challenges,” said Mr OM.

Nikita Srivastav, Sr. State Program Manager, Population Foundation of India (PFI) Rajasthan office also spoke at the workshop and said, “In order to take this issue forward it is important that media ensure active ownership for the issue in the state, so that the efforts of organizations like PFI reaches the masses and an enabling environment is created for the issue.” 

Population Foundation of India has already held eight youth-led consultations across the country to identify and put forward challenges and recommendations to improve adolescent health. Apart from Rajasthan, PFI has been working in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to increase awareness of adolescent health programmes and expand health services especially for the vulnerable.

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