Adolescents constituted 19% population of India in 2011. Adolescents have health seeking behaviour different from that of adults. We estimated the utilisation of available health care services by adolescents and awareness regarding various health issues in the urban and rural Dehradun District, Uttarakhand, India. We also described knowledge and practices of public sector health care providers.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey among adolescents 10–19 years in the urban Dehradun and rural Chakrata block of the Dehradun District. We used cluster sampling with sample size 680 each in urban and rural areas. We collected data from adolescents using semi structured questionnaire on health awareness and utilisation of health care services. Public sector health care providers were surveyed about their knowledge and practices regarding adolescents health.
We surveyed 1463 adolescents. The overall mean age was 14.4 (2.6) years, about half being females. Half of the adolescents who had any illness used the public sector. Awareness about anaemia was 48% in urban and 12% in rural areas. A higher proportion of females (Rural: 89%, Urban: 76%) were aware of condoms as contraceptives than males (Rural: 68%, Urban: 12%). Only 62% of doctors and 49% of paramedical staff had knowledge regarding services under Adolescents Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH).
Awareness regarding various health issues was low among males as compared to females, especially in rural areas. School based health promotion programs should be carried out to increase awareness among adolescents. Health facilities should be strengthened to provide adolescent friendly health services to enhance utilisation.
This study was funded by the extramural funding by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). We thank Government of Uttarakhand, India for their support in conducting this study.
Source of support: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Government of India.
Conflict of interest statement: None declared.
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