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Table of Contents   
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 791-792
Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of the neglected population groups in Bhutan


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication5-Oct-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of the neglected population groups in Bhutan. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:791-2

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of the neglected population groups in Bhutan. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Jun 7];10:791-2. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/4/791/196499
Even though, in the last decade or so, a gradual improvement has been observed in meeting the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of women and adolescent girls, these needs have remained largely unmet for a major proportion of women, especially in low-resource settings.[1]

The year 2016 marks an important year for the SRH needs of women and adolescent girls owing to the adoption of both Sustainable Development Goals and Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health, with targets being set for the next 15 years and strategies have been formulated to achieve the same.[1],[2]

The conventional approaches to improve the SRH outcome were based on the rationale to modify individual behavior by increasing their awareness about the after-effects of being involved in high-risk behaviors.[2],[3] However, it has now been realized that mere knowledge about such consequences was not enough, while they have to acquire the corresponding skills and empowered with knowledge to modify their risky behaviors.[2],[3] This is predominantly because of the wide range of factors that determine their behaviors, such as biological and hormonal changes, effect of family and friends, the local community and the presence of a healthy physical environment (viz, adequate housing, health care establishments, recreation facilities, etc.), and the extent of access to educational and vocational opportunities.[1],[2],[3]

The current global picture presents a sorry state for women and girls, with an estimated 22 million unsafe abortions being reported annually, while in excess of 825 maternal deaths have been reported to occur every day either due to pregnancy or because of the childbirth-related complications.[4] In addition, more than 220 million women from developing nations wish to postpone or stop subsequent childbearing, but are not using any contraceptives, either due to lack of awareness or due to the shortcomings in the health system, which compromises the basic principles of easy accessibility, availability, and affordability of health products.[5] Almost all of these alarming concerns are exclusively prevalent in developing nations and this is a clear indication of the fact that the health authorities have failed to a great extent in empowering women and accomplishing the ultimate goal of universal health coverage.[3],[4],[5] Moreover, the SRH needs of women and girls are further undermined at times of humanitarian emergencies, owing to a serious toll on the public health system.[6]

In an attempt to reach the youth population and educate them about their health, biological changes and sexual rights, so that they are empowered to take informed decision, a program has been launched in Bhutan to target the SRH needs of the nuns' population.[7] Though it is a conception that nuns have no need of any SRH education, but owing to the large population size distributed over hundreds of monasteries, no major assistance from the local government, and such places being headed up by men, all the nuns are devoid of even basic information how to lead a healthy life.[7]

The aim of the initiative is to impart life skill-based sexuality education and to sensitize and empower them about their sexual and reproductive health and human rights (including the right to freedom from violence), so that they can subsequently empower the remaining community.[5],[7] Furthermore, the program has even been extended to the monks and in the local schools to orient young people about important life skills and ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies or acquisition of sexually transmitted infections.[7] In addition, men have also been targeted with similar messages and have been counseled to end any form of sexual violence on their female counterparts.[7]

To conclude, it is extremely important to target women and adolescent girls and improve their awareness about sexual and reproductive health needs. At the same time, no population group should be left uncovered, as their empowerment can further extend messages to the local communities both in the present and in the future.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Wiklund I. Sexual and reproductive health and rights: a matter of life and death. Sex Reprod Healthcare 2015;6:197.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]    
2.
Hindin MJ, Ö Tunçalp, Gerdts C, Gipson JD, Say L. Monitoring adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:159.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Plourde KF, Fischer S, Cunningham J, Brady K, McCarraher DR. Improving the paradigm of approaches to adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Reprod Health 2016;13:72.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.
World Health Organization.Maternal mortality-Fact sheet No.348. 2015. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Jun 26].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization.Family planning/Contraception-Fact sheet No.351. 2015. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs351/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Jun 26].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Askew I, Khosla R, Daniels U, Krause S, Lofthouse C, Say L. Sexual and reproductive health and rights in emergencies. Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:311.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
UNFPA Nuns schooled on sexual and reproductive health in Bhutan. 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/nuns-schooled-sexual-and-reproductive-health-bhutan. [Last accessed on 2016 Jun 27].  Back to cited text no. 7
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196499

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