The National Health Mission (NHM), Meghalaya has launched a special programme to sensitize people on the critical issue of teenage pregnancy and institutional delivery through road show, street play, interactive and community events in different parts of Garo Hills of Meghalaya.
In the last one week, road shows and community events were held in several weekly markets of North, South, West, South West and East Garo Hills.
As part of the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) programme, the outreach activities reach out to the target audience through different games, quiz and dance competitions.
Through short street play, the message of teenage pregnancy was disseminated to the target audience, who were also engaged in general quiz to enhance their level of awareness on the issue. The importance of institutional delivery was also discussed in the community activities.
The National Health Mission has embarked on IEC activities to sensitize the public on teenage pregnancy as Meghalaya has reportedly registered an increase in percentage rise compared to the national average.
Officials from Health Department and local theatre group have been creating the awareness at the grassroots level.
Locals say that lack of awareness in rural areas is one of the primary reasons of teenage pregnancy.
“We are happy that government is trying to educate us on the issue. We appreciate the government for taking such initiative to sensitize the public. It is good that young people are getting a platform to participate in different entertainment activities, where information about such a topic is being disseminated,” said Augustine Marak, a village elder, who witnessed the IEC activity at Bajengdoba in North Garo Hills on Wednesday.
Sweety Sangma, a student of Class X, who took part in the dancing competition said, “I came here to participate in the dance competition but surprisingly apart from dancing and game activities, we got information on the right age to marry.”
Morgan Momin, a member of Dimapara Youth Club, who witnessed the IEC activities at Dimapara in South Garo Hills said, “Such programme will really empower the youth. It is good that government has taken such a move to create awareness in the society.”
In Garo Hills, the IEC activities started on August 2 and will continue till August 16.
The IEC team has so far held community events and activities at Jengjal, Rimrangpara, Dimapara, Songsak and Bajengdoba.