The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development emphasizes on dissemination of information and services to adolescents which would protect them from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The special needs of adolescents in the area of reproductive health have been well recognized. Motherhood at adolescence age exposes millions of girls to the risks of maternal death, reproductive health hazards and various nutritional complicacies. Significant section of adolescent girls worldwide are forced to go for unsafe abortions every year. There is an increasing trend among adolescents of both sexes in different parts of the globe of being affected by HIV infection and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
In India, a series of policies have been formulated during last couple of years to bring adolescents to the center stage of development planning. These policies are: the National Health Policy 2002, the National Population Policy 2000, the National AIDS Policy 2001, the New National Draft Youth Policy, and the Women Policy 2001. Past experiences reveal that the interaction between policies and practices fail miserably in achieving the desired goal. Most of these policies exist in vacuum without any significant contribution to programme realities. All these policies would be effective if the needs of adolescents are addressed to through political and bureaucratic commitments at highest level and continuous support of policy makers. It is urged by international documentations that government and non-government organizations of our country must recognize the special needs of adolescents and implement appropriate programmes directed towards education and counseling of adolescents in the area of responsible sexual behaviour, family planning, family life, reproductive and sexual health, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and AIDS. The issues of adolescents are very delicate and complex.
The present book is based on the research study on Nutrition and Health Care of Adolescent Girls in Urban and Rural area of Orissa sponsored by National Commission for the Women, New Delhi. The research project has been directed by Prof. R.N. Pati, an eminent social anthropologist of Orissa. The book deals with various issues of adolescent girls in the areas of reproductive and sexual health, socialization, quality of life, nutritional issues and so on. The study recommends how the programmes for adolescents could be made more effective and how the adolescents could be fully involved in identifying their reproductive and sexual health needs.