;

Jemie Shreshta, Youth Advocate, Campaigns for Increased Access to Reproductive Health for Her Peers

Aug 22, 2017 | Nepal, News

The Global Citizens’ Dialogue gives citizens a platform to voice their concerns, solutions, and criticisms. This blog series presents highlights from the 3rd Annual Global Citizens’ Dialogue, which was held during the 70th World Health Assembly and brought together adolescents and youth from Bolivia, Nepal, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and the Philippines with health ministers and other leaders.

Namaste, I am mountain daughter Jemie Shrestha, aged 20. I am studying for my Bachelor’s in Social Work and I am a youth advocate for WRA Nepal.

My journey in this field, Reproductive and Adolescent Health, was inspired by my father. At the age of 12, I went with him to the most rural area of Nepal, where I witnessed girls of my own age forced to live in cow sheds and become the victims of diseases and rape. This motivated me to work for my society.

I hope to be a voice for all the youth in Nepal who demand their health rights.

One of my biggest achievements was working as a National Volunteer, appointed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, after the earthquake, in the epicenter, for 3 months. There I saw that the untouchable groups were neglected, and their health situation was horrible. As the relief materials were unable to reach them, they lacked menstrual hygiene. In response, I provided them with cost-effective sanitary napkins training. Trainees were then able to later teach their family and friends. This earthquake also brought a growth in child marriage leading to early pregnancy, uterus prolapse, an increase in infant and maternal mortality rates, and girls trafficking.

While collecting data on adolescent health, I encountered a community nurse who told me that although girls are aware of sanitary pads, they are not aware of how to use them and some girls even place pads upside down. This later brought many complications to their reproduction. She also told me how important it is for boys to maintain reproductive hygiene, as many boys face challenges like HIV, negligence towards their genitals which brings about rashes and wounds, unsafe sex, and temptation towards sex at an early age without sex education, as teachers skip this chapter.

This earthquake also brought a growth in child marriage leading to early pregnancy, uterus prolapse, an increase in infant and maternal mortality rates, and girls trafficking.

A funny thing is, that although I advocate about the use of contraceptives in my community, I can’t imagine talking about this to my mom. I believe this stigma is the barrier for education among the youth.

Our biggest achievement, by the government of Nepal, is the development of the National Adolescent Health and Development Policy, which established 1,134 Adolescent Friendly Centers. These centers, however, do not provide quality services.

This is a good opportunity for me to utilize this platform and recommend the Chief of Public Health of Nepal focus on Youth Reproductive Health. A comprehensive bill is going to get passed this has the opportunity to include every adolescent belonging to rural areas, urban areas, laborers, LGBT, youth with disabilities, and even youth sex workers, to improve qualitative service.

I hope to be a voice for all the youth in Nepal who demand their health rights.

© 2017 White Ribbon Alliance  Privacy Policy  Terms of Use