Mobile app helps adolescents access public health services
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DHAKA, 17 January 2023 – Millions of adolescents and youth in Bangladesh will be able to access health information and services through two online portals launched today at The National Adolescent Health Conference held in Dhaka.
The Adolescent Health website and mobile application, launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with support from UNICEF and the Embassy of Sweden, aims to increase awareness and ensure easy access to physical and mental health information and services for adolescents.
“Adolescents can be powerful agents of change, and we must do all we can to empower them and to address their age-specific needs. The launch of these platforms represents the Government’s commitment to strengthen adolescent-friendly health services in Bangladesh,” said Mr. Zahid Maleque, Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
Adolescents in Bangladesh, accounting for over 36 million of the country’s population, face multiple social barriers to accessing information and health services that are essential for them to grow and thrive. Low awareness and social stigma about mental health and mental illness, for example, are widespread among communities. And when it comes to sexual and reproductive health, it is challenging for both girls and boys to seek and find trusted information and vital services.
“Adolescence is a transformative time when teenagers are exposed not only to a new sense of independence but also new challenges. Adolescents need access to information, skills and services to enable them to reduce risk, but also to grow into capable adults that form a strong foundation for the next generation and the global future. The app gives them critical health information that they may be too shy to ask from parents, peers or health professionals,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
The Adolescent Health platforms include educational and gender-adapted guides and courses on sexual and reproductive health and rights, nutrition, violence, and physical and mental health as well as information on how and where to access adolescent-friendly health services.
To promote widespread use of the platform, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and Ministry of Education will engage with adolescent clubs, youth peer groups and teachers in all secondary schools in the country.
“The Adolescent Health platforms have the potential to improve the lives of millions of girls and boys in Bangladesh. We are delighted to be a part of this initiative,” said Alexandra Berg von Linde, Ambassador of Sweden.
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Notes for editors:
The National Adolescent Health Conference was organized by the Directorate General of Family Planning and Directorate General of Health Services (DGFP), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the support of the Embassy of Sweden and UNICEF. The conference was held on 17 January 2023 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC), Agargaon, Dhaka.
Officials from the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Education and partner organizations joined the event. Mr. Zahid Maleque, Minister of Health and Family Welfare was the chief guest at the event, which was chaired by Ms Shahan Ara Banu, Director General, DGFP.
Sweden is a long-standing partner of Bangladesh, supporting in the areas of democratic governance, gender equality, climate change, environment and water, inclusive economic development, and strengthening health system and sexual reproductive health and rights.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org