India launches adolescent health programme

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) The Indian government Tuesday launched a comprehensive programme to improve the health of adolescents, who comprise over 21 percent of the over 121 crore population, in the country with a focus on community-based interventions.

The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (National Adolescent Health Programme), launched by union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here, will comprehensively address the health needs of the 243 million adolescents.
He said so far efforts have been confined to sexual and reproductive health of adolescents that too at select government facilities.
The programme will bring in several new dimensions, like mental health, nutrition, substance misuse, gender based violence and non-communicable diseases, he said.
It introduces community-based interventions through peer educators, and is underpinned by collaborations with other ministries and state governments, knowledge partners and more research.
Health Secretary K. Desiraju said that the programme is an effort to move away from a doctor-driven effort towards a holistic and participative programme.
The programme defines an adolescent as a person within 10-19 years of age, in urban and rural areas, includes both girls and boys, married and unmarried, poor and affluent, whether they are in school or out of school.
The health minister also launched the handbooks on strategy frameworks which includes the framework for monitoring, supervision and evaluation of the programme once it is rolled out; the handbook on operational framework which will help to translate the programme into action.
The National Family Health Survey-3 indicates that 56 percent of girls and 30 percent of boys aged 15-19 years are anaemic.