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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Steps sought to tackle issues of adolescents

Staff Reporter

Call to address psycho-social problems at the school level



Study:Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran receiving UNICEF's report ‘State of the world's children 2011 — adolescence: an age of opportunity' from the body's chief of field office (Kerala and Tamil Nadu) Satish Kumar at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala needs specific strategies at the community level to address the psycho-social and reproductive health problems among adolescents, Child Development Centre (CDC) Director M.K.C Nair has said. Making a presentation on ‘Adolescent care concerns in the State' at the Kerala release of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) global report, ‘State of the world's children 2011 — adolescence: an age of opportunity,' here on Thursday, Dr. Nair said the State had specific adolescent concerns such as an alarming increase in Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD), which had a direct link to the growing problem of infertility in the State. The onset of many mental health issues can be traced to adolescence and given the magnitude of problems of drug abuse and suicide among the adolescents, problems such as depression needs to be identified and tackled at the school-level or primary care settings. Various studies on adolescent health and concerns in the State have shown that nearly half of the school-going adolescents had difficulty in studies and that poor scholastic performance was associated with factors like an unhappy family. On reproductive health issues, friends were their main source of information. One in ten girls and one in 20 boys also reported that they had been sexually abused. Several of the adolescent concerns are currently being addressed through the reproductive child health (RCH) component of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). These included family life education classes and teen clubs in schools, information on sexuality, substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases, adolescent clinics, counselling centres and pre-marital counselling for older adolescents. Under the on-going NRHM-supported Adolescent District Health Plan, conceptualised by CDC, adolescent care counselling clinics are now functioning in all taluk hospitals and major Community Health Centres. Adolescents are making good use of these facilities, with about 34.3 per cent seeking help for psycho-social problems, 20.4 per cent using the clinic for addressing reproductive health problems and 22.6 per cent addressing scholastic issues, Dr. Nair said.

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