Imphal: Minister of water resources, youth affairs and sports, Letpao Haokip, on Thursday flagged off a bike rally from Khuman Lampak Sports Stadium in Imphal to show solidarity towards the health and well being of adolescents in the state.

The purpose-led bike rally organised by consumer healthcare company Reckitt Benckiser, with ADRA India under the Durex led Birds and Bees Talk program aims to showcase the support for the importance of informed decision making, consent and life skills for adolescents.

Around 55 riders from the Royal Motors Group will be covering 110 km from Imphal East to Bishnupur, Imphal West in support of the Durex programme which aims to reach two million children across seven northeastern states.

According to the organiser, the Durex led The Birds and Bees Talk program has developed an innovative, engaging curriculum designed is to address the information gap around young people’s reproductive and sexual health and rights and provide them with comprehensive life skills curriculum that addresses power, protection and pleasure.

Speaking on the occasion, director of external affairs and partnerships- RB Health AMESA, Ravi Bhatnagar said that “Durex has been an industry leader in educating masses and spreading awareness about wellbeing.

Adolescence is a crucial age to develop an understanding of one’s health and the criticality of life skills. With The Birds and Bees Talk program we have developed engaging ways to empower adolescents with essential life skills, knowledge, attitude, and values.”

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We aim to promote healthy behaviours so that the adolescents in Imphal and neighbouring states grow into responsible, healthy adults. We will continue in our efforts to conduct more such activities in the region. And I am grateful to the state government and its authorities for joining hands for the cause, he added.

Programme director ADRA, India, Rajan Pydimalla further added that “ADRA helps people in need, especially those most vulnerable such as women, children, and minority communities. With support from Reckitt Benckiser (RB), ADRA is implementing the ‘The Birds and the Bees Talk’ for 10-19-year-old adolescents in the Northeast.”

Rajan further expressed his gratitude to Reckitt Benckiser (RB) for supporting a much-needed initiative and involvement of youth through bike ride which is going to enhance the outreach and outcome of the Birds and Bees Talk campaign.

Improved Knowledge and awareness about sexual health, sexual risk behaviour and gender is the call of the moment, he added.

Stressing on the purpose-led bike rally, Bikramjit Maisnam Singh, founding member and chief of Royal Motors Groups said that “Today RB has given us an important cause to ride for the improvement in self-confidence, self-awareness and social skills Behavioural outcomes. I would urge all my young friends to follow the message of The Birds and Bees Talk.”

The northeast region has a high adult HIV prevalence in states of northeast region like Mizoram (2.04%), Manipur (1.43%), and Nagaland (1.15%), etc., much higher than the average national prevalence (0.22%) in India. In Manipur, the 15-39-year age group, the most productive age group has maximum deaths due to HIV. The regions’ population is also vulnerable in the context of HIV infection, particularly for injecting drug users.

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