Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the SAATHIYA Resource Kit including ‘Saathiya Salah’ Mobile App for adolescents, in New Delhi on Monday as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program.
It entails introduction of the Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who act as a catalyst for the adolescent health services and imparting age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer groups.
Introducing the Resource Kit and the Mobile App, Health Secretary C K Mishra said, “Our country is home to 253 million adolescents which is largest in the world in terms of absolute numbers and when RMNCH programs were launched globally, India was the first country to add the ‘+A’, that is, adolescent component to the RMNCH, making it today’s RMNCH+A program.”
Emphasizing on the future of today’s adolescents, he said they form “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.”
The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program was launched in January 2014 and it 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.
The Peer Educators under the program communicate with the adolescents of their community and it is expected that the 1.6 lakhs Peer Educators will be answering all the queries in the minds of an adolescents in-spite of the plethora of media such as Magazines, TV, internet etc.
The Peer Educators will be trained across the country in a phased manner and the communication material is specially designed to help the Peer Educator to be recognized and respected as ‘saathiya’, a good friend for the adolescents.
This Resource Kit comprises i) Activity Book, ii) Bhranti-Kranti Game iii) Question-Answer Book and iv) Peer Educator Diary. In addition to the kit is the mobile app ‘Saathiya Salah’ (downloadable from Google play-store).
The mobile app is also linked to a toll-free Saathiya Helpline (1800-233-1250) which will act as an e-counselor. While the short films will be played by the Peer Educators at their group meetings, the activity book and games will bring about discussion and resolve adolescent queries.