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Sector Expert Consultation on Adolescents Issues

The adolescents (10-19 years) are almost 23% of total population in Rajasthan. In this age young people are very vulnerable to influence and pressures. According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4), 35.4% women in the 20-24 age group tied the knot before 18 years of age. However, the State has relatively much smaller budget outlay for adolescents program and not much attention has been given for providing a special focus on adolescents issues across the spectrum and geography. 

A sector expert consultation on Adolescents issue was conducted for Rajasthan Priorities at Conference hall of Indian Institute of Health Management Research University IIHMR, Jaipur on 8th August 2017. The consultation was organized by India Consensus in partnership with IIHMR University, Jaipur and well attended by experts from IIHMR, State Government, medical college, civil society, development partners and other academic and research institutions.
 


During the discussion, the following problems were shared and brainstormed by the experts:

  • Child / early marriage and teen pregnancy
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Mental health
  • Risky behaviors: drugs, violence, injuries
  • Nutrition and physical health
  • Adolescent health
  • Building healthy habits for the future
  • Early drop outs and skill development, quality of education
  • Family interaction
  • Lack of fora for adolescents to express themselves
  • Social norms and exclusions
  • Addiction to screen time
  • Poor reproductive health and protection

Key Initiatives

At present, the Government of Rajasthan has the following schemes/program for adolescents:

  • Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) -Addresses multiple dimensions of adolescent health—non-communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, violence, substance abuse and sexual and reproductive health
  • An Adolescent Health Day in the state every quarter.
  • Fairs are organized where health camps are conducted.
  • Awareness drives on hygiene, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, injuries, violence, substance misuse

Interventions

During the discussion, close to 70-80 interventions surfaced from all the participants and out of them, following 29 interventions were collectively chosen by all, as they seem to be most effective with the ability to be implemented considering scale, cast and practical issue related geography and diversity of the State.

  1. Sanitation in schools
  2. Counselling at schools for adolescent issues
  3. Family counseling with parents and adolescents
  4. Increase access and intensity to sexual and reproductive health + SRH counseling
  5. Reduce child marriages via education, incentives
  6. Counselling at health facilities for adolescent issues
  7. Create a platform to hear adolescents
  8. Toll-free helpline services for suicide and mental health issues
  9. Provide nutrition to adolescent girls
  10. Transfer assets and skills to girls
  11. Link skill generating Institute to schools
  12. Use civil society to implement programs and improve access to them
  13. Promotion and awareness for counseling services
  14. Audit of existing interventions to see ‘what works’
  15. More women teachers particularly for STEM subjects
  16. Training for teachers to address mental health
  17. Education about identifying mental health symptoms and psychometric tests
  18. Integration of life skills into curriculum
  19. Provide transport to girls to attend schools
  20. Conditional transfer for school and health services attainment
  21. Scholarships and in-kind transfers (e.g. bicycles) to stay in school
  22. Dropbox at schools and aganwadi for grievances + promotion
  23. Village health and sanitation committees strengthened
  24. Build ‘residential’ schools
  25. Community decision making/oversight of school quality and teachers
  26. More spaces for adolescents to play
  27. Girls only schools in some areas
  28. Cash incentives to whistle blow about child marriage
  29. Increase quota for political posts and jobs

List of Participants 

  1. Dr. P.R.Sodani, Dean training, Indian Institute of Health Management Research University
  2. Dr. Kailash Brijwasi, Executive Director, Jatan Udaipur
  3. Dr. Kanchan Mathur, Associate Professor, Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
  4. Shobhita Rajagopal, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
  5. Mr.Manish Singh, Executive Director, CECOEDECON
  6. Radhika Sharma, Director, Jeevan Ashram Sanstha (JAS)
  7. Mr.Rajendra Bhanawat ( Retd. IAS), Executive Director, Doosra Dakshak
  8. Dr.Sanjay Nirala, Child Protection officer, UNICEF Jaipur
  9. Ms.Mansi Choudhary, RKSK Consultant, Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram, Raj Govt
  10. Mr. Narendra, Action Aid
  11. Mr.Sanjay Sharma, State Programme Manager, Save the Children
  12. Mr. Himanshu Shukla, Education officer, Save the Children
  13. Dr. Mamta Chauhan, Associate Professor, State Institute of Health & Family Welfare
  14. Ms. Nidhi Purohit, Consultant RKSK, State Institute of Health & Family Welfare
  15. Dr. Sonica Sharma, State Institute of Health & Family Welfare
  16. Dr.Dahrmesh Sharma, Asst Professor, SMS medical college
  17. Dr. Suresh Joshi, Faculty member, IIHMR
  18. Dr. Charu Mathur, Faculty member, IIHMR
  19. Dr. Mohan Bairwa, Faculty member, IIHMR
  20. Dr. Sameer, Faculty member, IIHMR
  21. Mr. Rajeev Tiwari, Faculty member, IIHMR