It is surprising to know but today the world has more adolescents than any other age group. The number is to further increase for another couple of decades. But the sad part of the story is more than 1.1 million die every year. Most cases are preventable. India ranks among the first ten in the world when it comes to preventable deaths.
Preventable causes of death
There are various preventable causes however ignorance of the immediate family, society and country environment as a whole is responsible for those deaths. A few of them are:
- Road accidents
- Interpersonal violence
- Untreated illness
- Unsafe sex
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Mal-nutrition and lack of activity
- Girls getting abused by partner violence.
- Pregnancy complications and unsafe abortions at early ages
The above-mentioned list contributed to more than 83% of the total deaths worldwide. The list is not exhaustive as there are other contributing factors too. However, the above mentioned points are prevent able.
Why adolescent age is different
Adolescent age is sandwiched between childhood and adulthood. Here the brain development and experience of several aspects of life is yet to be reached. However, this is the age where an individual starts to believe that they know more and hence can experiment on various aspects of life. We have to understand that at adolescence there are rapid changes in physical, cognitive and physiological aspects. The inputs they get from the environment influences their decisions and how they interact with the world.
What we can do
We have to understand that our responsibility is beyond our close family. Our children are going to live in an environment. Hence overall constructive growth is important. Our adolescents need information on good health, age-appropriate sex education, health services, a safe environment and the opportunity to develop life and professional skills. We need to provide them meaningful participation in the constructive design of society as a whole. Expanding the culture to rural areas is the key to uplift the society and irradicate the causes as listed above.
We need to understand the concept and implement it without being prejudiced against the younger generation. The older generation has to understand that the environment in which today’s adolescents are growing is different than their time. Hence, equating to own time will be conceptually wrong. Getting into their shoes and then deciding our actions will make our education and information more receptive and absorptive.
Importance of adolescent age group for a nation
Today the complete world, WHO, and India have recognized the fact that progress of the society into a better future is only if we take care of this age group. Several programs are being launched both at the international as well as national level to secure this generation. ‘Accelerated Action for the health of Adolescents’ (AA-AH) of WHO, Adolescent Health program (Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram, RKSK) of India, Adolescent health and wellbeing by Unicef, and many more programs are working together so that future of the world is progressive.
The final call
The nation and every citizen has to accept the fact that today’s adolescent is the future. Hence it is imperative that we work towards evolving into a better world. The adaptation is required in the older generation as today they are sitting in the driving seat. Hence the importance of counseling, correct guidance, medical intervention, and developing skills has to be adopted by the society and micro as well as macro level. It is not a world organization or the ruling government but all of us who have to accept the responsibility and start working towards a common goal ‘Secure Our Youth’