SRH Unveiled: Your Guide to Sexual and Reproductive Wellness

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SRH Unveiled: Your Guide to Sexual and Reproductive Wellness

Every day, more than 1 million STIs, the most of which are asymptomatic, are contracted around the world. According to data from 2019, 55% of unwanted pregnancies among teenage females between the ages of 15 and 19 result in abortions, which are frequently dangerous in LMICs. Teenage moms (those between the ages of 10 and 19) have higher rates of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis, and systemic infections than mothers between the ages of 20 and 24, and their offspring have higher rates of low birth weight, premature delivery, and serious neonatal conditions.

 

The state of mental, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of the concerns related to the reproductive system and its matters can be classified as good sexual and reproductive health. Sexual and reproductive health determines the overall health condition of people and the well being of the society as a whole. It is not unknown that women have been deprived of their reproductive rights for the large part of the history of mankind. Hence, sexual and reproductive health and rights are interwoven with women rights.To achieve optimal health outcomes throughout the life course and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for maternal and newborn health, it is essential to prevent teenage pregnancy as well as pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity. However, both men and women need to be aware of their rights to be able to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

What is sexual health and reproductive health?

WHO defines Sexual Health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity”. A positive and respectful perspective on sexuality and sexual relations is necessary for maintaining sexual health. The range of sexual health-related issues includes both benefits and drawbacks.Pleasurable sex and secure sexual relationships are upsides to good sexual health. On the other hand, adverse effects of sexual health include issues like unwanted pregnancies, sexual dysfunction, sexual assault, STIs, harmful practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), etc.

WHO defines Reproductive Health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes”. Reproductive health ensures that people can have pleasant and safe sexual relationships, that they are able to reproduce, and that they have the freedom to choose if, when, and how often to do so. Men and women have the right to information and access to family planning methods that are effective, inexpensive, and safe as part of reproductive health. The right to appropriate reproductive health services is also included.

Sexual and reproductive health is the combination of both sexual health and reproductive health. It consists of a healthy sex life, family planning, desired family size, safe pregnancy, correct sex education, freedom from sexual violence and coercion, access to legal and safe abortion, and safety from STDs etc. Issues related to sexual and reproductive health are not just women-related but also concern men and thus everyone needs to be aware of their sexual and reproductive rights and duties. 

Importance of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH)

SRH is vital for the overall wellbeing of people, especially women. Access to SRH can bring down child marriage cases, prevent transmission of the sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and risky abortions. The proper knowledge and awareness regarding SRH can help the younger generations be aware and responsible in their actions and targeted care can be taken with assured facts. 

 

SRH is important for gender equality and sexual expression. It ensures the right to make decisions regarding our own bodies and reproductive health. Women empowerment is a major outcome that makes SRH essential. Elevated role of women in family planning, increased contraceptive options, safe abortions, decreased infant mortality rate and decreased risk of death of mothers while giving birth stabilise the family and society. Improvement in SRH is personally, socially and even economically beneficial. 

How can we promote SRH?

SRH is not a new discovery but a fresh way of looking at the existing programs for safe maternity, family planning, HIV/AIDS and STD prevention, child survival, and nutrition, women’s empowerment and participation in numerous programs, encouraging males to engage in SRH and family planning. These form the components of SRH together.

 

What we can do for the sexual and reproductive well-being of individuals is not rocket science but needs serious planning and execution. We can promote SRH by 

  • ensuring the greatest standard of care and services
  • availability of efficient family planning techniques
  • emphasising on advocacy for the SRH
  • improving connections between departments of health services as well as other industries
  • women’s development and education
  • promotion of SRH-related research initiatives
  • overcoming the cultural stigmas and restrictions associated with SRH etc. 

Constitutional Provisions related to SRH in India

India has a bunch of laws and provisions to assist SRH promotion specially supporting women rights collectively. Many policies and programs have also been developed and run by the government for the same. The major constitutional provisions providing Indians SRH rights are –

  • ART 14 : Equality before the law/ equal protection of law. All citizens are equal and are equally protected without any discrimination.
  • ART 15 : Prohibition o discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, race, sex or place of birth against any citizen.
  • ART 15(3) : Nothing shall prevent the state government from making special provisions for women and children. Helps protect their sexual and reproductive rights. 
  • ART 21 : No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
  • ART 38 : State promotes the welfare of people and secure social order. State shall thrive to minimise the inequalities. 
  • ART 42 : State shall make provisions for securing just and humane conditions for work and for maternity relief. 
  • ART 45 : State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all the children until they complete the age of six years. 
  • ART 52(e) : Promotion of harmony and it is the duty of every citizen to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. 

 

There have been many laws and policies to help spread awareness regarding SRH and the rights associated with it. Some of them include Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act 2021, Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021 and Rules 2022, Section 312 of IPC, National Health Policy, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram 2014, Maternal Health initiatives like Janani Suraksha Yojana, Population Control initiatives like Mission Parivar Vikas, new contraceptive choices, United Nations Population Fund interventions like Midwifery Initiative etc. 

 

Sexual and Reproductive Health needs to be addressed using a holistic approach having improvement and awareness at personal, relationship, community levels addressing physical, mental, emotional and social issues related to it. Educating youngsters about SRH is vital for a healthy future of the nation.

Kanak Sharma is a graduate from Miranda House in History and Political Science. She is honest, cheerful, responsible and friendly and likes to read, dance and introspect. She strongly believes in spirituality. Peace and fairness are the two things she sought in life as end goals. She has a long list of skills she wants to learn in life. With the motto "Right means would eventually lead to right end", she strives to be an asset for the society and the nation.
Kanak Sharma
Writer
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Tinu
Tinu
Guest
6 months ago

This is written beautifully , keep going 👏👏

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