On 24th September 2020, an Adolescent Friendly Health Clinic (AFHC) was inaugurated at the Pakribarawan Public Health Centre of Nawada district. This first yuva clinic at the health centre, inaugurated by the Civil Surgeon-Nawada is the outcome of several initiatives undertaken by the Population Foundation of India (PFI) and its partners in Bihar.
Since 2018, PFI with support of its partners has built the capacities of more than 8000 young people in eight blocks across two districts of Nawada and Darbhanga on Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health or ARSH. The capacity building was started with the formation of adolescent groups and constant mentoring about their rights under the government’s Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK-National Adolescent Health Programme). A special social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) kit was created to help the youth understand their health and rights. The SBCC kit had comic books, a dart game, a pocket booklet on adolescent issues and their solutions. Other digital products created by PFI such as Kishor ka Shor (Voice of Youth) was digitized and was disseminated through WhatsApp and social media. This package increased awareness among young people that led to a rise in demand for health services.
As awareness grew, young people identified a gap between the demand for and availability of services. Champions were identified from each adolescent group and trained as youth leaders to advocate on young people’s issues. These youth leaders then conducted a round of community monitoring of adolescent health programmes in their respective blocks to identify gaps in the services. They participated in the public dialogues and demanded the setting up of fully functional AFHCs to cater specifically to their requirements. In September 2019, the youth champions also submitted a charter of demands to the Bihar State Health Minister, District Magistrates and Civil Surgeons.
Establishment of AFHCs
The State Health Society Bihar took prompt action on the charter of demands submitted by the youth champions and approved the formation of AFHC clinics in eight blocks of Darbhanga and Nawada.
The PFI team with the help of its field partners, facilitated the setting up process, including identifying a place for the Yuva clinic, sharing guidelines on branding the clinic and training ANMs responsible on how to provide counselling services while ensuring privacy of young people.
Due to these efforts, by the end of October 2020 there will be eight adolescent friendly health clinics in Nawada and Darbhanga. Thereby, bringing private, non-judgemental and tailored health services to young people in the region.