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Consultant: Afaq Ullah

Data theme: Entitlements, Health and Nutrition

Objectives: Improve coverage of Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) and ensure access to essential services and commodities for adolescents at Village Health and Nutrition Days (VHND) and Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs). 

Key Outcomes:  This strategic intervention organized several meetings and workshops with the community, specifically local adolescents and shared insights and factsheets from the UDAYA survey, reaching out to more than 100 adolescents with information about Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) and the importance of Iron Folic Acid tablets.

A letter demanding better service delivery of VHNDs and AFHCs with over 400 signatures from adolescents and members of the community was accepted by the Medical Officer In-Charge, Chief Medical Officer and the RKSK Nodal Officer. 

The intervention influenced local officials to organise five Adolescent Health Days, where over over 200 adolescents received information and entitlements as per the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program.  

The consultant also organised meetings with the media, resulting in at least five media reports being published at the local level with information about the UDAYA study. 

Process: The meetings and events organised with adolescent groups and the wider community provided information and the subsequent discussions about the RKSK program implementation at local level revealed that one of the key entitlements long overdue was the supply of IFA tablets. 

Over a span of a few months, five Adolescent Health Days were organised, with engaging activities like street plays, slogan writing competitions, signature campaigns etc. Over a 100 adolescents attended these events, and participated in awareness sessions on the various schemes they were entitled to. District and block level officials like RKSK nodal officers were also invited to these events, and the events included health check ups, anemia screenings and counseling. 

Of the 11 Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs), only four existed, and were understaffed. Following the community meetings, groups of adolescents began regularly visiting the AFHC to demand  improved service delivery. These efforts were combined with continued meetings and conversations with concerned officials, including the RKSK nodal person, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram nodal person, Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), District Project Officer, AFHC Counselors as well as the media to share ground realities. 

A letter containing recommendations to strengthen service delivery of VHNDs and AFHCs was drafted. Over 400 adolescents and parents were signatories. The letter was submitted to the District Program Officer and other relevant officials. While the recommendation letter has been accepted by the Medical Officer In-Charge, Chief Medical Officer and the RKSK Nodal Officer, there are no written orders yet to ensure continued supply of IFA tablets, or further clarity on actual improved service delivery. 

COVID-19 proved to be a great challenge for RKSK program implementation, with staff and budgets being diverted towards COVID-19 treatment and relief