‘All set for a national adolescent friendly health strategy’

Kochi, Dec 4: The Indian government is going to launch a national adolescent friendly health strategy in January with a view to addressing the health-related problems among the young people, including the demand for contraceptives, an official said Wednesday.

As part of the strategy, every district in the country will have at least one adolescent-friendly health clinic to offer a wide spectrum of clinical services and healthcare products including pills and contraceptives, said Sushma Dureja, deputy commissioner (adolescent health) in the union health and family welfare ministry.

The strategy will officially be unveiled on Jan 7 at Bhubaneswar, ” she said at a session on “contraceptives for young people’, at the ongoing global health conference on social marketing and social franchising being held here.

Chairing the session, S.K.Srivastava, additional secretary at the health ministry, stressed the need for using the latest tools of social media including Facebook and Whatsap to prod the young people to open up about their problems.

The senior officials also agreed to look into reviewing the current definition about the target group of free condoms distribution scheme by the government to deliver contraceptives at the doorsteps.

Currently, the condoms were given by the ASHA workers only to the couples as per the norms.

When the experts suggested that the young people, not couples, should also targeted as number of deliveries and pregnancies among the teenagers were high in India, the officials said the matter would be taken up with the ministry.

The session also threw up startling facts about the young generation. Every year, two million girls give birth before they turn up 15 years in India. Out of total number of women giving birth, 47 percent were below the age of 18, pointed out Frederika Meijer, country representative of UNFPA (United Nation’s Population Fund).

The speakers at the session called for integrated platform with different modes of communication to reach out to the young people who have limited sources for right information and services in the country.

The three-day event, which opened here Monday with a high-profile gathering of experts, policy makers and heads of several international organizations, is being organised by HLFPPT, a not-for-profit trust promoted by the mini-Ratna public sector enterprise HLL Lifecare Ltd, with the support of health and family welfare ministry, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, HLL and National AIDS Control Organisation.