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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1378-1379
Offering adolescent girls' centered care in developing nations: Fighting against all odds


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

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Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Offering adolescent girls' centered care in developing nations: Fighting against all odds. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1378-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Offering adolescent girls' centered care in developing nations: Fighting against all odds. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 23];10:1378-9. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1378/196639


Dear Editor,

Demographically, young people remain the fastest growing segment of the human population in both low and middle income developing nations. Therefore, implementing measures to achieve their holistic welfare is crucial for a nation's development in terms of a healthy workforce and sustained economic growth.[1] Globally, adolescents constitute an important part of the global society, with close to 1.2 billion adolescents living across the world, of which more than 500 million adolescent girls are from the developing nations.[1]

However, adolescent girls from the developing nations are exposed to a wide range of challenges eventually manifesting as poor standards in the health (including infections), education, nutrition, and backwardness in other key areas.[1],[2],[3]

As a matter of fact, in most of the nations, the policy makers fail to recognize the extent of discrimination, with adolescence being the stage when the opportunities begin to open for boys, but cease for girls.[1],[4] Even if programs are in place, the benefits associated with the program fail to reach the vulnerable adolescent girls and they often remain neglected.[1]

Though, marriage is usually considered a happy event uniting two individuals, for adolescent girls it is the direct violation of their human rights, which denies them from their childhood.[3]

The current estimates suggest that in excess of 14 million adolescent girls are married; while more than 7.2 million girls give birth before attaining the age of 18 years in developing nations alone.[1]

Often, these pregnancies are unplanned and compromise the health and well-being, as well as endanger the lives of both the young women and the infant.[2],[4] Further, millions of the girls are unable to join school or have to drop-out from the schools due to the early marriage, pregnancy and other social commitments, and the consequences are even evident in the lack of employment in the formal sector.[1],[2]

It is very much vital to understand that adolescence is not only a time of extreme vulnerability, but also offers a big opportunity to transform a girl, improve their development, and develop different skills.[4],[5] Thus, it is the need of the hour to ensure that adolescent girls are supported and empowered with the necessary knowledge and skills through the girl-centered programs, and respond to the challenges of early marriage, childbirth, illiteracy or school dropouts, poverty, morbidities, intimate partner violence, and gender inequality.[4],[5] Further, to support their commitment to assist in adolescent and youth development, the UNFPA has launched a new initiative, Action for Adolescent Girls across 12 nations, with a target to protect the rights of adolescent girls by delaying their age at marriage and childbearing, especially those from the marginalized population groups.[1],[4]

Infact, a Very Important Girls Group has been created in the community centers of these nations. The actions have been taken to improve the prospects of the girls' health, education, access to sexual and reproductive health or family planning services, and to empower them through income generation training, to significantly contribute towards the growth of the nation's economy.[1],[3],[4]

However, in the longer-term, the ultimate aim is to create an enabling and a favourable environment at all possible level and accomplish development, which is built on the principles of gender equality.[5]

To conclude, a wide range of challenges exist to prevent the target of ensuring that every adolescent girl in the developing nation can realize her full potential. Thus, the policy makers just cannot leave them behind as they are not only our hope, but our future as well. Hence, there is a great need to invest in them to become healthy and productive members of the community.

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.
UNFPAUNFPA's Action for Adolescent Girls. New York: UNFPA press; 2014.p.1-13.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Houlihan CF, Baisley K, Bravo IG, Kapiga S, de Sanjosé S, Changalucha J. et al. The incidence of human papillomavirus in Tanzanian adolescent girls before reported sexual debut. J Adolesc Health 2016;58:295-301.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Hokororo A, Kihunrwa A, Hoekstra P, Kalluvya SE, Changalucha JM, Fitzgerald DW. et al. High prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in pregnant adolescent girls in Tanzania: a multi-community cross-sectional study. Sex Transm Infect 2015;91:473-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
UNFPAThe Very Important Girls Group: Investing in youth to invest in the future of Tanzania; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/very-important-girls-group-investing-youth-invest-future-tanzania. [Last accessed 2016 June 17].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Sieverding M, Elbadawy A. Empowering adolescent girls in socially conservative settings: Impacts and lessons learned from the Ishraq program in rural Upper Egypt. Stud Fam Plann 2016;47:129-44.  Back to cited text no. 5
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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
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: 10.4103/1755-6783.196639

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