Indian Youth to Engage in Decisions About Their Reproductive Health

India has the largest cohort of young people in the world, 27.5% of its population or 332 million young people, are between 15-29, yet their sexual and reproductive health remains underserved.

Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under its MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership mechanism, announced a new initiative for India, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash, to engage adolescents and youth in decisions about their reproductive health and wellbeing.

Through this four-year project, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash will focus on Family Planning (FP) and Reproductive Health (RH) for young people and contribute to the achievement of India’s national FP goals. The project will support the FP/RH needs of India’s marginalized youth in urban and rural areas of Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Young people, aged 15–29 years, make up more than 27.5% of India’s population and, according to the National Youth Policy 2014, contribute about 34% of India’s gross national income. Despite the Sustainable Development Goals for universal access to sexual and RH care services, including FP, by 2030, this cohort of adolescents s underserved when it comes to their sexual and RH needs.

Speaking at the event, Dr. S.K Sikdar, Advisor, FP & MINH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India said, “I would like to congratulate USAID for partnering the government in undertaking yet another program to achieve the goals of family planning. Over the years, USAID has been instrumental in effecting changes and addressing family planning issues. As per an RBI report, India is growing rapidly annually. Therefore, a lot needs to be done still and we are confident that the Yash program will play a crucial role in the achievement of socioeconomic and environment development goals for sustainable development. At the same time, it is also pertinent to strengthen the strategic partnerships, foster multi-sectoral stakeholder involvement, encourage innovation, mobilize community, and engage actively with the private sector for widespread reach/success of the program.”

Ms Sangita Patel, Director Health Office, USAID/India said, “The United States remains committed to the long-term success of U.S.-India cooperation in the health sector. USAID has decades of experience working with partners and stakeholders, including the public sector, private sector and young people to advance health and wellbeing. Many of our efforts include a specific focus on promoting improved reproductive health and reducing gender-based violence. MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership India-Yash is designed to build upon existing evidence and best practices, as well as to catalyse new ideas and partnerships, using a targeted, contextualized approach. The program also includes a greater focus on building the capacity, sustainability, and resilience of local partner institutions, recognizing that building the technical and organizational capacity of local organizations is necessary to deliver sustainable, evidence-based and quality reproductive health care and voluntary family planning. MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership: India-Yash seeks to foster recognition for the shared interests and mutually reinforcing goals of all stakeholders in the reproductive health space.”

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