The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched SAATHIYA Resource Kit and SAATHIYA SALAH mobile app for adolescents as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) programme. The kit and app will help Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who are introduced under the RKSK programme. The Saathiyas act as catalyst for generating demand for adolescent health services and also impart age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer groups.
India is home to 253 million adolescents which is largest in the world in terms of absolute numbers. Their health and wellness is utmost priority as they are the critical mass of asset which in future will be the biggest demographic dividends to the country’s economy.
- The Resource Kit has been developed by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Population Foundation of India (PFI).
- The kit comprises i) Activity Book, ii) Bhranti-Kranti Game iii) Question-Answer Book and iv) Peer Educator Diary.
- It has been designed to present the Peer Educators with key information on adolescent health, which would then enable them to communicate the same and help the adolescents at the grass root/village level’.
- In addition, the mobile app ‘Saathiya Salah’ acts as cost-effective information platform for the adolescents. It also has feature of toll-free Saathiya Helpline which will act as an e-counselor.
About Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) programme
- RKSK programme was launched by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in January 2014 with an aim to cater and address health and development needs of the country’s adolescents.
- It introduces community-based interventions through peer educators (Saathiyas), and is underpinned by collaborations with other ministries and state governments.
- RKSK identifies six strategic priorities for adolescents: (i) nutrition, (ii) sexual and reproductive health (SRH), (iii) non-communicable diseases (NCDs), (iv) substance misuse, (v) injuries and violence (including gender-based violence) and (vi) mental health.
- To guide the implementation of this programme, the ministry in collaboration with UNFPA has developed a National Adolescent Health Strategy.
- Target Groups: The strategy focuses on age groups 10-14 years and 15-19 years with universal coverage. It covers males and females in school and out of school, in urban and rural, married and unmarried and vulnerable and under-served.