September 16, 2014 11:11:11 am
From handling queries on how to treat acne, deal with typical feelings of the first crush to counselling about irregular periods, the first-of-its-kind helpline launched by the state takes care of all problems related to adolescence.
To improve adolescent health, the state has also decided to set up clinics at nine “high-risk districts” of Dhule, Aurangabad, Jalna, Nanded, Beed, Osmanabad, Jalgaon , Nandurbar and Gadchiroli.
Many adolescents face a lot of pressures among friends and family. For some, it could mean issues like poverty and parental problems, others could be concerned about issues like gender roles and even have difficulty dealing with past trauma — including sexual abuse. Conflicts often lead to violent behaviour among the adolescents. To deal with this, the state has renamed its Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health Programme (ARSH) as Adolescent Health Programme (AHP).
Adolescents, in the age group 10-19 years, contribute to over 23 per cent of the population in Maharashtra. While the state had reached out to 4,43,569 adolescents to impart health education via ARSH, a need was felt to sensitise them about issues related to drug abuse, mental health, behavioural problems, suicidal tendences and others, Dr V D Khanande, Additional Director, State Family Welfare Bureau told The Indian Express.
As part of the ARSH programme, at least 3.27 lakh adolescents were counselled while 2.97 lakh were given clinical services. At least 4.5 lakh benefited through adolescent health clinics. “However, we realised that there were larger issues that adolescents had to deal with apart from sexual problems,” Khanade added.
Dr Babita Kamalapurkar, Assistant Director, Family Welfare Bureau, said various schemes were being implemented under the Adolescent Health Programme via 191 health centres, including district and rural hospitals. The initiative to set up the helpline (18002332688) was taken by Principal Health Secretary Sujata Sounik.
“Teenage years are difficult ones and with technology, information is rapid. These young minds can misunderstand the information that is freely available. The helpline can counsel them regarding various issues,” said Kamalapurkar.
However, while the helpline was launched two months ago, there has been little awareness about it. “We have sent letters to hospitals and health departments about the initiative,” she said.
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