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Govt launches new health programme

It did not offer community-based services or take into account emerging challenges like non-communicable diseases.

New Delhi |
January 8, 2014 3:06:12 pm

Eight years after his ministry identified adolescent health as a key focus area under the National Rural Health Mission and launched the Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) programme, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Tuesday launched another health programme for adolescents — the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram.

A senior official said the new programme was necessary because the earlier one did not look beyond reproductive health or address issues of malnutrition, mental health, etc. Moreover, it did not offer community-based services or take into account emerging challenges like non-communicable diseases. However, officials associated with ARSH said the programme used reproductive health only as a starting point to effectively address all adolescent health concerns.

“ARSH was a facility based programme focusing only on reproductive and sexual health. It did not take into account emerging epidemiological patterns. We have identified six key areas — sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, injuries and violence (including gender-based violence), non-communicable diseases, mental health and substance abuse. We have incorporated learnings from ARSH, but this is more comprehensive,” additional secretary Anuradha Gupta said about the Rs 250 crore programme to cater to 343 million adolescents (21 per cent of the country’s population).

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