New Delhi: The Health Ministry on Monday launched 'Saathiya Resource Kits' aimed at improving knowledge on adolescent health issues among teenagers.
Health Secretary CK Mishra launched the 'Saathiya Resource Kits' along with the 'Saathiya Salah' - a mobile app for adolescents - under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program.
The 'Saathiya Resource Kits' is a nationwide programme under which 1.6 lakh boys and girls will work as peer educators to adolescents and respond to their queries on key health issues including mental and physical changes, nutrition and addiction.
The initiative also aims to bring down the apprehensions and doubts among growing adolescents about the body related changes that they undergo during puberty.
"Adolescents are the critical mass of asset which in future would be the biggest dividends to the country's economy; thereby their health and wellness are of utmost priority'," said Mishra addressing media persons here during the launch.
To address and cater to the health and development needs of the country's adolescents, Health Ministry had launched RKSK in January 2014.
RKSK identifies six strategic priorities for adolescents -- nutrition, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), non-communicable diseases (NCDs), substance misuse, injuries and violence (including gender-based violence) and mental health.
"India is home to 253 million adolescents which is largest in the world in terms of absolute numbers and when RMNCH (Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal & Child & Adolescent Health) programs were launched globally, India was the first country to add the '+A' i.e. adolescent component to the RMNCH, making it today's RMNCH+A program,' said Mishra.
The event was in partnership with the Population Foundation of India and UN Populations Funds.
"The kit is being launched to enable the 1.6 lakhs peer educators towards taking their job forward and answering all the queries in the minds of an adolescent in-spite of the plethora of media (magazines, TV, internet etc.) available," said Mishra.
The resource kit comprises of an Activity Book, Bhranti-Kranti Game, a Question-Answer Book and a Peer Educator Diary.
The mobile app 'Saathiya Salah' (available from Google play-store) acts as a ready information source for the adolescents in case they are unable to interact with the peer educators.
The shy adolescents or those unable to interact with the peer educators due to family reasons can access the information through the free mobile app as well as a toll-free helpline.
(With IANS inputs)