GN Bureau | February 20, 2010
A community-led programme on adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health needs would soon be developed by the health ministry. Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in New Delhi on Saturday.
He was speaking at the release of a study, ‘Youth in India: Situation and Needs’. Conducted by the International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai, and Population Council, New Delhi, the study shows that women have very little information and almost no control over their reproductive health.
According to a press release, economist Amartya Sen who was also present at the event said, “Deprivation and violence towards women call for comprehensive re-examination of values that permeates Indian society.”
He added that scepticism about the importance of schooling is still very common in India. “Education equips individuals with capabilities that are essential for realising their fullest potential,” he said.
The study shows that 25 percent women have never gone to schools and almost half the girls surveyed were married before the age of 18.
The study also states that only 37 percent young men and 45 percent young women knew that a woman can get pregnant at first sex.
Pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality, delayed abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, unmet contraceptive needs and lack of knowledge and power to take decisions are among the many risks the young face.
Azad said efforts will be made to set up exclusive forums to promote behavior change and use of sanitary napkins among the adolescent girls in villages and urban slums to ensure needs are adequately addressed.
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