Kochi, Dec 4: The Union 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, a senior government official said.
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. The strategy will officially be unveiled on January 7 at Bhubaneswar.
This was revealed by Dr Sushma Dureja, Deputy Commissioner (Adolescent Heath) in the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, while taking part at a satellite session on “contraceptives for young people’, at the ongoing global health conference on social marketing and social franchising.
Chairing the session, Mr S K Srivastava, Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor to the Health Ministry, stressed the need for using the latest tools of social media including Facebook and what’s app 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 Health Ministry will also consider inclusion of more tools like Facebook in tune with the times to reach out to the young generation across the country, they added.
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 Ms Frederika Meijer, Country representative of UNFPA (United Nation’s Population Fund).
Detailing on the Government efforts to provide information and services as part of the National Population Stabilisation Fund (JSK), Dr Sushma said the national hotline operated under the Ministry received 3.38 lakh calls during the last year. “The number is expected to go past four lakh this year as 3.4 lakh had already made calls by October,” she said.
Concerns and questions about the contraception ranked high among the subject matters with 40 percent of callers seeking information about it. Though 55 percent of callers were men, the topics were related to those concerning women more, she said.
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 yesterday 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 Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), HLL and National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).
Chairing the plenary on ‘Emerging Innovations’, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Ms Aradhana Johri said health sector had seen many interventions and HIV sector was in the process documentation. The stakeholders now need to assess the effective interventions made during the AIDS campaign, said Ms Johri who was heading the National AIDS Control Organisation till recently before moving to the Pharma Department.