At an event organized by the Rajasthan State AIDS Control Society and PFI marking the National Youth Day, Rajasthan’s Health Minister Raghu Sharma has lent his full support to Population Foundation of India’s Zero Teenage Pregnancy campaign. The Population Foundation of India will be using this opportunity to raise awareness about the issue of teenage pregnancy. This campaign is designed to engage the public, elected representatives, government officials and other community partners to recognize teenage pregnancy as priority for adolescent health and development in the state, and respond appropriately to possible cases. Sharma kicked off the campaign by holding a placard that says Zero Teenage Pregnancy.
Nikita Srivastava, Senior State Program Manager, Population Foundation of India says, “The aim of the campaign is to create greater awareness around teenage pregnancy in the state of Rajasthan and encourage important stakeholders to make a strong commitment towards ending teenage pregnancy. One-fifth of the population of Rajasthan are adolescents and their improved health will have a significant impact on the social and economic profile of the state.”
“We hope that members of civil society, Government officials, legislators as well as grassroot workers join this campaign and commit to ending early marriage and pregnancy.” Added Srivastava.
As per the NFHS-4 data, 35 percent of girls in Rajasthan were married before the age of 18, and more than 6 percent of girls either had children or were pregnant at the time of the survey. Teenage pregnancies compromise health as well as education of adolescents. Available data suggest that maternal mortality rates for married adolescents in ages 15 to 19 years are higher than women in their twenties and early thirties. Apart from the health risks, adolescent childbearing and the conditions associated with it are fundamental factors determining the quality of life and role of women in a society. Further, adolescent pregnancies are more likely to be associated with low birth weight, prematurity, birth injuries, stillbirth, and infant mortality.
Population Foundation of India has already held eight youth-led consultations across the country to identify and put forward challenges and recommendations to improve adolescent health. PFI also works in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to increase awareness of adolescent health programmes and expand health services especially for the vulnerable.
Population Foundation of India is a national civil society organisation, which promotes and advocates effective formulation and implementation of gender sensitive population, health and development strategies and policies. Bharat Ratna JRD Tata founded PFI in 1970.
PFI addresses population issues within the larger discourse of empowering women and men, so that they are able to take informed decisions related to their fertility, health and well-being. We work with the government, both at the national and state levels, and with other civil society organisations.