Adolescence health app launched to help access public health services
Life has different stages. Each and every stage has its own colour and trait and beauty. Childhood, adolescence, youth and adulthood, old age all have wonderful phases to offer. Adolescence offers the most awkward and major changes in the body. It is the vulnerable stage for girls and boys. Their hormonal disbalance, change of body and other natural change-overs affect them both physically and mentally. Their special needs during this time often stay ignored and uncared for.
In Bangladesh, due to social stigmas, taboos and religious dogmas adolescents barely shares their queries and issues they face in the phase. There is an utmost need for a platform that can support them with information and counsel.
There are huge barriers to accommodating adolescents with the required support. The parents are often ignorant of the issues, friends and peer group provides misinformation and there is no authentic source for their help.
To address this gap and ensure that adolescents throughout the country have access to SRH services through public health facilities, the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Unit of the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP), with financial and technical assistance from development partners, has begun establishing Adolescent Friendly Health Corners (AFHCs) at selected government facilities at district and union levels.
Recently the Government of Bangladesh has addressed the issue. In a National Adolescent Health Conference organized by the Directorate General of Family Planning and Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the support of the Embassy of Sweden and Unicef launched two online portals National Adolescent Health website and its mobile application with the aim to increase awareness and ensure easy access to physical and mental health information and services for adolescents.
The platforms reportedly feature gender-specific training materials and courses on nutrition, violence, physical and mental health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Via two online portals, the National Adolescent Health website and its mobile application, youth in Bangladesh will have increased access to health information and services, as well as health education materials, guidelines, and services.
To promote widespread usage of the platform, the Ministries of Women and Children Affairs and Education will collaborate with instructors of all of the country’s secondary schools as well as teen clubs and young peer groups.
There are several projects underway right now to make AFHSs more accessible in Bangladesh. The government has established a new National Adolescent Health Program and the National Strategy for Adolescent Health 2017–2030, both of which seek to increase access for adolescents to high-quality medical care as well as increase provider and adolescent knowledge and understanding of adolescent health.
A number of research articles were published in that meeting. The vulnerable condition of the country in SRHR, MR, and MHM has been addressed by the researchers. They pointed to child marriage, violence against young girls and disabilities, early birth and child undernutrition, adolescent mother health care, hijra adolescence and many related issues in their research presentation.
In a research conducted by Bandhu Welfare Association, 70% of adolescents had no proper information about menstruation and menstruation hygiene, 75% were transwomen hijra, 60% were intersex, 50% were transmen 40% of MSM kothi. CD community are facing physical violence such as slapping, beating, kicking, punching, hair pulling, attack, and being out of medication by family, relatives, neighbour, partners, Hijra leaders local and political peoples. On research by the Centre of Excellence for Urban Equality and Health of Brac, in 87.3% of the case, neighbours emotionally abused participants for their disability. 47.2% of study respondents reported experiencing at least one act of abuse during their childhood.
The government’s attempt to bring positive changes to adolescents for mental and physical health is appreciated. Yet there are more recommendations like providing comprehensive and age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health services, providing comprehensive mental health services with special emphasis on adolescent-specific mental health support, ensuring gender-responsive care and respectful treatment, providing safe healthcare services, and establishing trained and knowledgeable personnel for delivery of these services, increasing number of pediatric and adolescent health services in Bangladesh.