Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh: Regional Consultation on the Status of Adolescent Health
Between January-March 2019, we are partnering with young advocates across India and The Population Foundation of India to develop adolescent and youth-friendly guidelines through six regional consultations. These consultations have been strongly focused on bringing together fragmented voices & efforts across and among young people working on adolescent health. The six consultations were in Nawada, Imphal, Bhopal, Kalahandi, Delhi and Mumbai, and will culminate in a national consultation in New Delhi.
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh:
The main objectives of the consultation were to develop a collective understanding of the present context of youth SRHR and Adolescent Health in the region; to examine strengths, challenges and opportunities for convergences across various active SRHR and Adolescent Health Interventions in the region, and to frame recommendations for different stakeholders towards advancing SRHR and Adolescent Health needs of young people.
28 participants joined the Consultation from various districts of Madhya Pradesh (Jhabua, Badwani and Sehore, Panna & Chatarpur) and Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow, Sitapur and Aligarh). The participants for the consultation included Peer Educators from the RKSK program, representatives from CSOs working on SRHR and adolescent health, including Sidvi Samarthan (M.P.), Yeh EK Soch Foundation (U.P.) and Medha Foundation (U.P.) and Breakthrough (U.P.). Government representatives that were present include Dr. Sheetal Rahi, Ms. Smita Shinde (RKSK Consultant) and Mr. Dileep Kumar Hedau (Deputy Director, National Health Mission) who discussed the advocates’ recommendations, the related challenges and possible solutions.
As in Bihar, youth advocates articulated demands across the 6 themes of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram. In Bhopal, advocates further raised issues related to substance misuse, mental health, and gender-based violence, as well as systems-related difficulties - policy implementation gaps, difficulties in ground-level information dissemination, and inactive district committees.
In the role of the facilitator, TYPF supported the youth advocates to refine their recommendations and streamline their dialogue with the government representatives. Recommendations were organised across the 6 themes of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram in order to provide a more compelling argument for addressing them. Framing the discussion along these themes also strengthens the need for an intersectional and holistic approach to adolescent health.