Ghualm Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK).The programme will comprehensively address the health needs of the 243 million adolescents, who account for over 21 percent of the country’s population.
The Minister added that so far the efforts have been partial, confined to sexual and reproductive health, that too at select government facilities. The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram will bring in several new dimensions, which he listed as- mental health, nutrition, substance misuse, gender based violence and non-communicable diseases.
The programme introduces community based interventions through peer educators, and is underpinned by collaborations with other Ministries and State governments, knowledge partners and more research. Referring to the strategic approach to RMNCH+A(Reproductive, Maternal, New born, Child Health + Adolescent) in which ‘A’ denotes adolescents, unveiled last year at Mahabalipuram, the Health Minister said that new focus on adolescents is in recognition of the fact that without adolescent health, maternal and child health outcomes may continue to elude us.
Azad also stated that the 5 by 5 RMNCH+A matrix has been developed which lists out the 5 high impact interventions under each of the 5 pillars, all of which need to be implemented together, at the same time, with high coverage and quality.
The RKSK programme defines an adolescent as a person within 10-19 years of age, in urban and rural areas, includes both girls and boys, married and unmarried, poor and affluent, whether they are in school or out of school.
The Health Minister also launched the handbooks on strategy frameworks which includes the framework for monitoring, supervision and evaluation of the programme once it is rolled out; the handbook on operational framework which will help to translate the programme into action; and the resource pack for the ANMs, ASHAs, medical officers, LHVs and peer educators.
Also present at the launch function were Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director, UNFPA, Fredika Meijer, UNFPA representative for Bhutan and India, senior officers from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Health Secretaries from different States, and representatives from UNICEF.