Realising that the impact of COVID-19 on the youth has been largely undermined, three NGOs came together to conduct three separate studies during the lockdown. They reveal the impact of the pandemic on adolescents and youth.
The NGOs assessed the knowledge and awareness of the pandemic among the youth in three states, the impact of the pandemic on the reproductive and mental health of women, adolescents and children, and the experiences of civil society organisations while working with adolescents during the lockdown, reported The Print.
The studies were released at an online seminar Tuesday.
The Print quoted Dr Manohar Agnani, joint secretary in the health ministry, who attended the webinar, as saying, “It is unfortunate that due to the pandemic, we have had to pool our resources to fight Covid-19, but both adolescent health and reproductive health are a priority for us.
“The ministry is engaging with youth networks for skill-building and spreading awareness about mental health. Distribution of menstrual hygiene products needs to be explored. We are working to look at alternate delivery mechanisms,” he added in the report.
Findings of the studies
- Access to health care services, especially sanitary pads and contraceptives was affected
- Searches for at-home abortion methods and abortion pills spiked during the lockdown
- Searches related to domestic abuse also increased; 28 percent in cities across all states and 22 percent in districts or towns
- In three states — Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, 89 percent of the respondents could identify at least two COVID symptoms, while 100 percent of them said they washed their hands frequently, and 96 percent said they covered their face during the lockdown
- 61 percent sourced their information on the virus from television; 49 percent from frontline workers; 30 percent from WhatsApp; 5 percent had experienced COVID symptoms and visited a doctor
- 58 percent of women under 18 years of age and 51 percent above 18 years reported an unmet need for sanitary pads
- Online searches for sanitary pads and tampons surged across districts and cities
- Interest in tampons increased by 70 percent in cities and 15 percent in districts
- Searches on how to use tampons also increased by three-fold, suggesting a new category of users