In a first for the state, the health department will soon set up exclusive clinics for teenagers in different districts to deal with adolescence issues.
These clinics, to be set up under the Arsh Yojana of the department, would offer expert advice to teenagers on a range of topics like pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, birth control, depression, substance abuse and sexual abuse. What’s more, their identity too would be kept a secret.
Eighteen districts, including Lucknow, Kanpur and Allahabad, have been earmarked for the project and two clinics, one each in the male and female district hospitals, would be set up in each of them.
Director general, family welfare (DGFW) Dr ST Hussain on Thursday directed the chief medical officers of 18 districts to begin the process of setting up the clinics. The money for the purpose, to be provided under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), has also been transferred to respective headquarters of the districts.
A senior health official said, “Teenagers often do not know where to go when confronted with adolescence issues. These clinics would help fill that gap.”
The DGFW, in his letter to the CMOs, noted, “In absence of specialised facilities, teenagers suffer from various mental and physical problems. Therefore, it is important to set up clinics which cater exclusively to this age group.”
Apart from everyday medicines, the clinics would also stock up contraceptives to help teenagers avert unwanted pregnancies.
“The children would be counselled on making use of contraceptives by the medical experts at the clinic,” the senior health official said. Besides, the clinics would have reading material to help children understand their body changes in a better manner.
Each counsellor would be given a form where they have to mention the specialists the teenagers were referred to. The form would be filled in code form so that the privacy of the children was not breached, the official said, adding, it would have to be submitted to the department every month.
Each clinic would be given an additional amount of Rs. 5,000 to make arrangements like screens and curtains so that secrecy of the children is maintained.
The duty of the counsellors would be divided in two shifts. From 10am to 1pm, they would visit schools, colleges, youth festivals, health fair etc in their areas and interact with children.
From 2pm to 5pm, counselling work would begin at clinics.
Additional director, health and family welfare, Kanpur division Dr Abdul Rauf Siddiqui said, “The problems of teenagers are different from adults. The separate clinics are being made so that they don’t have to go to neem hakims (quacks) for advice.”
Other cities where the clinics would be set up include Agra, Aligarh, Azamgarh, Basti, Bareilly, Chitrakoot, Devipatan, Faizabad, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Meerut, Moradabad, Mirzapur, Saharanpur and Varanasi.