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Stakeholders who met during the state consultation meeting for Adolescent programming under Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) highlighted the challenges in addressing the problems faced by adolescent girl children in Assam, especially in the minority-dominated areas and tea gardens.

The RKSK, which was launched in 2014 by the Union government, defines an adolescent as a person within 10-19 years of age.

The programme is committed at promotion of adolescent health mission across India and aims to address to the health needs of 243 million adolescents constituting 21 per cent of the total population in the country.

Representatives from State Innovation and Transformation Aayog (SITA), Assam, NHM Assam, Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), Foundation for Integrated Support and Solution (FISS) and UNICEF Assam have vowed to work together to upgrade the pathetic condition of Dhubri which has been recorded as the worst in the state.

Additional chief secretary of the social welfare department, Jishnu Barua, said that they face huge administrative challenge in the Dhubri district.

“Today, we have assembled here to understand what projects we are going to undertake in Dhubri district. I must admit that Dhubri is a hugely challenging district. In all the aspects Dhubri is way behind the rest of Assam. When we talk about child marriage, every second marriage is a child marriage in Dhubri. Unfortunately Dhubri has the highest child marriage rate in Assam which is 48.3 per cent,” said Barua addressing the various district officers and other officials of different stake-holders.

There are five key areas for intervention have been identified to bring about a change in the behaviour among the adolescent, their parents and community members to achieve development outcomes. These are health and nutrition, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), education, child protection and adolescent empowerment.

Barua said that their target to reduce child marriage by 10 per cent by 2020 and 10 per cent reduction in adolescent pregnancy by 2020 is a huge task.

“There has been complete lack of synergy. Apart from that, there’s serious shortage of officers in Dhubri district. Officials are holding multiple positions. These are huge administrative challenges we have to face,” Barua added during his speech.

He also mentioned of not having the presence of Child Helpline 1098.

Apart from that it was also highlighted that the girls from minority dominated areas in the lower Assam and tea garden areas are the worst sufferers.

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