In the list of health priorities, adolescent health lags far behind maternal and child health in India. It’s a dangerous oversight given that India is home to the largest number of adolescents in the world. An estimated 253 million adolescents live in India, and one in every fifth adolescent in the world is Indian.
There is enough evidence to show that the period of 10 to 24 years is a critical one as the behavior patterns that form now shapes the health for a lifetime. Yet the world over, two-thirds of the adolescent population is growing in countries that are grappling with issues like child marriages, early pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and depression.
India has missed out on investing in this age group, which explains the high rate of child marriage which has serious implications for infant and maternal mortality and early pregnancies..
If we can keep girls in school longer, their marriages will be delayed, they likely to have children later, breastfeed their babies, immunize them and this will have affect health indicators like infant and maternal mortality.
Given their significant presence, India needs to look at building a health force targeted at adolescents. Most adolescent interventions are targeted at tobacco and alcohol use and there is a mind block about teaching sexuality education in schools.One of the most sensitive problems in many parts of the world is that young people are sexually active outside marriage,
Given the many challenges, it is important to build health care systems to deal with the challenges that come with adolescence, I congratulate dr Sampathkumari , chairman of adolescent health committee of FOGSI , for investing her time and efforts in ADOLESCENT CARE along with a huge support from FOGSI Champions and all stakeholders .
Together, We will continue to build a healthy generation next.