Jemie Shreshta, Youth Advocate for Nepal at the 3rd Annual Global Citizens’ Dialogue, World Health Assembly. Next to her is Nepal’s Chief of Public Health. Photo Credit: Oliver O’Hanlon.

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

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.

Jemie providing essential health education services in her community. Photo Credit: Jemie Shreshta.

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.

Lines at the emergency maternal and newborn health camps, after the earthquakes on 25th & 26th April and 12th May, 2015.

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.

Jemie providing essential health education services in her community. Photo Credit: Jemie Shreshta.

In 2014, a group of civil society organizations, including World Vision, Save the Children, White Ribbon Alliance and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, began working together to advance citizen engagement and citizen-led accountability for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at local, national and global levels. Since then, the Coalition has supported more than a thousand citizen hearings in more than 22 countries across the world, giving citizens the opportunity to be heard on matters about their own health, and share their recommendations for how health care can be improved in their community, district and country.

Read the entire series:

The Growing Role of Youth-led Citizen Accountability

Sudan As Seen By A Young Person: What Youth Need

Let Us Not Be Victims Anymore… Let Us Be Victorious!

Adolescents Are The Catalysts of Change

The World’s Youth Lead the Way


Donate to White Ribbon Alliance and help protect and promote women’s health around the world. White Ribbon Alliance unites citizens to demand the right to a safe birth for every woman, everywhere. We harness the power of local women and men to achieve lasting change. Our approach is working. Subscribe to WRA Voices and follow WRA on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the work White Ribbon Alliance does around the world.

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Inspiring and convening advocates to uphold the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after pregnancy.

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