Rajasthan makes major push for adolescent health
Rajasthan’s senior ministers have reiterated their commitment to adolescent health, signing a pledge as part of the campaign run by national NGO Population Foundation of India
In a major boost to adolescent health in Rajasthan, the state’s Minister of Health, Dr. Raghu Sharma, and Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Mamta Bhupesh, have firmly committed to improving the health and general well-being of adolescents, by signing a pledge expressing their intention. Representatives of the national non-governmental organization (NGO) Population Foundation of India, the architects of the campaign, were present when the two ministers signed the document.
“Adolescents and young people are our greatest asset and we are committed to investing in their health and holistic development for a just, inclusive and prosperous Rajasthan,” the pledge states, reaffirming the commitment of the Government of Rajasthan to ensure that adolescents are healthy and empowered to be positive change-makers. It promises their inclusion in policy-making and in shaping development programs so that they can be stakeholders in decisions that will impact their lives and general well-being.
Divya Santhanam, Senior State Program Manager, Population Foundation of India adds: “As a grassroots organization, we have found that when governments use their resources well and work in synergy with civil society organizations, change happens. faster and on a much larger scale. The renewed commitment of the Honorable Ministers of Health and Women and Child Development will play a very important role in ensuring that adolescent health is a priority in Rajasthan.
The state government of Rajasthan is already delivering on these commitments and spearheading campaigns not only to end child marriage, but also to address the health and development needs of young people. Campaigns such as Nirogi Rajasthan, Zero Teenage Pregnancy (launched by the Minister of Health), establishment of Model Community Health Centers (CSCs) in all 200 wards as well as inclusion of Adolescent Friendly Health Centers (AFHC) in these CHC models are essential for improving adolescent well-being.
The commitment of the state government is particularly important as Rajasthan’s youth and adolescent population make up 32% of the state’s total population. However, for social, cultural and economic reasons, they face a multitude of challenges that prevent them from realizing their full potential. According to the National Family Health Survey (2015-2016), more than 35% of girls in Rajasthan are married before the age of 18. The 2018 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey indicates that 20% of girls drop out of school due to multiple reasons, including early marriage and childbearing.
“The signing of this pledge demonstrates the state government’s commitment to advancing the health of adolescents and young people with concrete actions and empowering policies so that they can become productive, healthy and secure citizens. happy in the country. This is all the more relevant in the current pandemic as COVID-19 has highlighted the need to invest in our adolescents and youth for healthier and more resilient communities,” Ms. Santhanam adds.