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Dr Sushma Tomar Lists 10 Facts About How Education Can Lead To Better Sexual & Reproductive Health Among Adolescents

1. Adolescents have special sexual and reproductive health needs

Reproductive health has always been a subject that is discussed with a lot of inhibitions. Especially, among adolescents, this subject is seldom discussed. We must understand that all adolescents have special sexual and reproductive health needs. They are the backbone of our society and the strength of our family system; so, reproductive health education and issues around it should be introduced and addressed in schools and colleges.

2. The need for reproductive health in schools and colleges is ever-growing

Adolescence is a period when kids become bold. They like to explore, challenge the status quo and take more risks. Along with physical growth, adolescents experience changes in emotional, psychological, social, and mental areas too. Therefore, susceptibility to behavioural problems at the time of puberty and new concerns about reproductive health are obvious.

3. Education about the right use of contraception is vital

During sex education and counselling, educators should disseminate information on how pregnancy is developed, and the role of contraception should be addressed in detail. We all know that teen pregnancies and subsequent abortions are extremely hard. Education about the right use of contraception will help in reducing unwanted pregnancies, and risks of abortions.

4. Sex educations helps curb emotional and physical violence

Another aspect of this engagement is to save adolescents from physical and emotional violence. India still witnesses intimate partner violence among so many families. Even after much efforts put in by activists, NGOs, government bodies and media, there is limited and inconclusive evidence of the effectiveness of sex and reproductive awareness.

5. It’s time to improve sex and reproductive health education

We need to open the minds of society members, sensitize them to the need for education and empowerment. That is the most effective strategy to improve health outcomes among young adults and guide the future generation to a healthier nation.

6. Characteristics of quality sexual health programs need to be incorporated

– Are taught by well-qualified and highly trained teachers – Use strategies that are relevant and engaging for all students – Address the health needs of all students, including the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth – Engage parents, families, and community partners in school programs – Foster positive relationships between adolescents and adults

7. The average age of puberty keeps getting lower and teens indulge in sexual intercourse a lot sooner

Earlier, the average age of menarche (first occurrence of menstruation) was 14 years, but slowly it’s coming down to 10 years. It all depends on one’s environmental condition, socioeconomic condition, nutrition, and health. Because of uncontrolled exposure of media through mobile, internet, television, nothing is a secret.

8. The ideal time for a girls’ first visit to a gynaecologist is at the time of menarche

Teenage girls should first visit their Gynaecologist at the time of menarche. This helps the Gynaecologist guide them about menses and how to maintain menstrual hygiene. Most times young girls are not properly guided about menses, and what complications can arise if they don’t maintain personal hygiene, this could cause unnecessary complication and confusion; so talking to your Gynaecologist is the 1st best step you can take.

9. Emergency contraceptive pills are often used by teenagers instead of practising safe sex

Emergency contraceptive pills are freely available at all medical stores without prescription, so they buy it freely. They are not aware of how it works, and what long-term complications could arise out of its misuse. Teenagers are not aware about the different types of safe contraception methods, so it is important that we teach them about safe sex and safe contraception. Otherwise, they may have to tackle infections, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

10. Indian government is taking steps to improve the reproductive health of adolescents

India has taken several strides to safeguard and improve reproductive health among adolescents. There are several interventions under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, designed to improve health outcomes among young people. However, there is no single action or intervention which can work for all young people, to address all their needs. –

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