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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Punjab to set up adolescent-friendly health clinics

Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, June 26, 2014
First Published: 08:41 IST(26/6/2014) | Last Updated: 08:50 IST(26/6/2014)

Following in the footsteps of the Haryana government and to focus of health care needs of the adolescents, Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs) will be opened in all district hospitals and subdivision level hospitals in coming days.

The clinics will have special and dedicated staff of medical officers, gynaecologists, male and female counsellors, surgeons and other required staff.

The staff will offer services like contraceptive condom programming, management of menstrual disorders, menstrual hygiene, counselling services as well as immunisation.

Special registers to maintain privacy of the adolescents will be started and a system will be maintained to motivate youths to come and talk about their physical problems.

The Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) programme will be known as Adolescent Friendly Health Programne after making basic modifications in the ARSH programme, which has failed to yield any result. This step has been taken in view of unsatisfactory results of the ARSH programme as adolescent girls and boys are finding it difficult to get any help from the state government.

A senior health official said adolescents have been neglected as far as their health needs are concerned. He said many adolescent boys and girls were sexually active, but lacked information and skills for protection. He added that there is always a communication gap between parents and other adults and they hesitate to talk with them about changes.

He said young girls and boys will be informed about the clinic’s benefits in villages or other localities like block extension educators or lady health visitors and they will be trained by a special team.

Confirming the move of the health department, civil surgeon Dr RL Bassan hoped that these clinics will start functioning at civil hospitals after July.

The ARSH programme was implemented in Punjab in March 2008 in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Sangrur districts with the objective of providing adolescent-friendly health services through the existing public sector health facilities.

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