Zero teenage pregnancy campaign garners support in Rajasthan

Jaipur (IANS)┬áThe #ZeroTeenMothers campaign launched by the Population Foundation of India on National Youth Day on January 12 is receiving enthusiastic support from Rajasthan’s policy-makers.

The campaign is receiving strong support from political leaders cutting across party lines.

So far, the campaign has engaged influential names like Dr. Raghu Sharma, Health Minister; Subhash Garg, state minister; Rohit Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Health; Govind Pareek, Deputy Director of the Department of Information and Public Relations.

Among MLAs, Harish Chandra Meena from Deoli Tonk, Nirmal Kumawat from Phulera and Prashant Bairwa from Newai-Tonk have supported the campaign.

MLA Krishna Pooniya from Sadalpur Churu also backed the campaign and, like the others, shared a photograph of herself holding the placard (Zero Teenage Pregnancy) on social media. Pooniya is an international gold-medallist athlete and has been actively engaged in girl-child development initiatives.

Lending his support, Harish Chandra Meena, MLA and former DGP of Rajasthan, strongly advocated for education and health rights for youth.

He said that there should be no teenage pregnancy.

MLA Prashant Bairwa added on social media: “Healthy young people and adolescents are the base of a healthy society…much-needed push”.

Govind Pareek, Deputy Director, Department of Information and Public Relations also backed the #ZeroTeenMothers campaign.

As per the National Family Health Survey-4 data, 35 per cent of girls in Rajasthan were married before the age of 18, and more than 6 per cent of these girls either had children or were pregnant at the time of the survey.

Nikita Srivastava, Senior State Programme Manager, Population Foundation of India said: “The aim of the campaign is to create greater awareness around teenage pregnancy in the state of Rajasthan and encourage important stakeholders to make a strong commitment towards ending teenage pregnancy. One-fifth of the population of Rajasthan are adolescents and their improved health will have a significant impact on the social and economic profile of the state.”

The Zero Teenage Pregnancy campaign is a means of creating dialogue and combating teenage pregnancy in Rajasthan by engaging with not just the public but with the elected representatives, government officials and other community partners, she said.

Among other government officials who backed the campaign is IPS Adarsh Sidhu, the Superintendent of Police in Tonk District. Sidhu pledged support for ‘child-rights’.

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