According to data from the 2016 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), every 8 adolescent girl in Jharkhand in the age group of 15 to 19 is either pregnant or a teenage mother. The data further indicates that Jharkhand ranks fifth across the country and has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in India at 12 percent.
As many as 20 districts in the state, including the capital, have a higher teenage motherhood prevalence rate than the national average of 7.9%. The two main districts with the highest rate of teenage pregnancies are Deoghar with 22.6% and Godda with 21.7%. This is closely followed by other districts like Garhwa – 18.9%, Jamtara – 17.5% and Pakur – 17.2%. Of these 86 percent of cases, rural Jharkhand is estimated to be 1.52 lakh in absolute terms.
NFHS-4 data further indicates that Jharkhand is estimated to have approximately 1.79 lakh of teenage pregnancy and childbearing in absolute terms out of a 15-19 year old teenage population of 14.9 lakh.
To tackle the challenge of teenage pregnancy and early parenting, a discussion on “Teenage Pregnancy in Jharkhand” was held on January 20th. During the discussion, Dr Shobha Suri, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation (ORF). Sumantra Mukherjee, Head of State, Jharkhand Unit, Institute for the Child in Need (CINI) Sucharita Iyer and Mukesh Raushan, Dasra Adolescence Collaborative.
Speaking on the occasion, Suri said: “Teenage pregnancy in India is a national emergency and needs to be addressed urgently. The adolescent is the fastest and most formative phase of human development. Adolescent health is crucial in shaping both the future of global health and the achievement of the sustainable development goals related to health, nutrition, education, gender equality and food safety. “
“There are many national adolescent focused programs and policies in India. The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) was launched in 2014 with the aim of improving the continuum of care for adolescent health and development needs. It targets all adolescents aged 10 to 19 in urban and rural areas, married or not, in school or not. Community interventions cover peer education, Adolescent Health Days (AHD), and Menstrual Hygiene Program (MHS), among others. The facility-based interventions focus on strengthening the delivery of clinical and counseling services through Adolescent Friendly Clinics (AFHC), ”Suri added.
“There is a need to increase girls’ education because education is inversely proportional to teenage pregnancies. The impact of Covid-19 in terms of dropping out of school, lost livelihoods, mental health issues is also quite huge. There is a need to improve access to relevant information for adolescents, ”said Mukherjee.
Teenage pregnancies also lead young girls to drop out of school with an incomplete education. According to a survey by Dara in Jharkhand, 65% of girls have completed grade VIII, while only 38% have completed grade X. Teenage pregnancies also expose adolescent girls to the mental and economic burden of raising a child to a child. very young age.
Dasra’s ‘Lost in Lockdown’ report says the lockdown has made it difficult to terminate an unwanted or teenage pregnancy, access pregnancy-related care, and also made it difficult to access contraception . During the lockdown, around 15.5% of adolescent girls had more difficulty obtaining contraceptives than 14% of boys.