SAS Nagar (Mohali), 25th March 08: A state level workshop on Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) was organised by National Rural Health Mission, Punjab here today in the State Institute of Health & Family Welfare, Mohali. The workshop was attended by Doctors from PGIMER, representatives from Nehru Yuva Kendra, Teachers, and representatives of NGO’s, Mass Media Officers and senior officers from the Punjab Health Department.
Shri Tilak R. Sarangal, Secretary Health cum Mission Director NRHM, Punjab gave the key address while Dr. S.P.S. Sohal, Director Health & Family Welfare, Dr SK Bansal, Director PHSC, Dr CS Brar, State Programme Manager, Dr VK Goyal, State Immunization Officer, Dr Rashmi, Programme Officer, ARSH and other senior health department also interacted with the participants.
Shri Tilak R. Sarangal while addressing the participants said that adolescence (10-19 years age) is the period of rapid physical growth which marks emotional, sexual and psychological changes in a child. Habits and behaviour picked up during adolescence have life long impact and proper guidance is required to ensure good development and growth of an adolescent. Many adolescent boys and girls are sexually active but lack information and skills for self-protection. They have simple but wide pervading crucial reproductive health needs like menstrual hygiene, contraception, safety from sexually transmitted disease and HIV etc, whereas on the other hand communication gap exists with parents and other adults. He said keeping in view the specific needs of adolescents, the ARSH programme of NRHM outlays to raise awareness among this section regarding sexual and reproductive health issues, provide adequate health counselling and services for them and to build a
supportive environment to address their sexual and reproductive needs through the provision of Adolescent Friendly Health Services (AFHS). Sarangal further informed that the first phase of ARSH is being launched in six districts i.e. Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Sangrur as first phase. He said that by the year 2010 all the health institutions throughout the state will be covered under the programme.
Dr S.P.S. Sohal told during the workshop that adolescents constitute nearly 22% of the population and therefore ARSH has been taken as a key strategy of RCH-II programme under NRHM, which is to address the issues related to reproductive & sexual health and create a favourable health seeking behaviour to achieve the objectives like delaying the age at marriage, reduction in teenage pregnancies, lowering the incidence of RTI/STI/HIV etc. He said that under the programme core package of promotive, preventive, curative, referral and outreach services would be provided. He told that all the community, secondary and primary health centres of the above 6 district would provide special services for adolescents along with other routine services. This includes services like contraceptive condom programming, management of menstrual disorders, menstrual hygiene, RTI/STI prevention, education, counselling services as well as immunization of adolescent mothers.Others who spoke during the workshop included Prof Amarjit Singh, School of Public Health, PGI, Ms Nidhi Jaswal, Counsellor with PGI, Dr GS Bajwa, from Nehru Yuva Kendra and representatives from NGO,s and teachers. A skit regarding handling adolescent child was also presented during the workshop.