Adolescence is the period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult.
It is a transitional period that requires special attention.
Evidence suggests that policies and services sensitive to the needs and capabilities of adolescents can help them break the cycle of poverty, discrimination and violence.
Bangladesh is home to 36 million adolescents, making up 22 per cent of the population. But adolescent-friendly services is not yet a familiar concept.
There is growing need for urgent action.
Because of the high rate of child marriage, adolescent girls in Bangladesh face risks from early pregnancies, violence and lack in nutrition. Of the women aged between 20 and 24, as many as 53 per cent were married before the age of 18.
There is high fertility rate among adolescents. But Bangladeshi adolescents often lack access to health facilities.
Adolescents and their families also have very limited awareness of health needs. This includes information on reproductive health, nutrition and psycho-social counselling.
These conditions contribute to high mortality rates of newborns in Bangladesh, besides neonatal and maternal morbidities.