WHO calls for stronger focus on adolescent health

Burnet Institute

11 June, 2014

WHO has called for a stronger focus on adolescent health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a stronger focus on adolescent health in a report that revealed road traffic injuries, HIV and AIDS, and suicide as the leading causes of death.

‘Health for the world’s adolescents’ also reported that depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years.

Harmful use of alcohol was shown to be an important contributor to poor health among adolescent boys in the Asia and Pacific regions, and despite some progress, conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth are still the second leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19 years worldwide.

The report was compiled with published evidence and consultations with young people around the world and provides recommendations to strengthen the way countries respond to adolescents’ physical and mental health needs.

Burnet Institute women’s and children’s health specialist, Dr Elissa Kennedy said the Institute recognises young people suffer a disproportionate burden of poor health.

“We also recognise the unique opportunity that adolescence provides to modify risks that will support a healthy transition into adulthood and also improve outcomes for future generations,” she said.

“We work with young people, local organisations, governments and United Nations’ agencies to improve adolescents’ access to essential sexual and reproductive health information and youth-friendly health services, including strategies to prevent early and unintended pregnancy.”

Burnet is also developing and testing new interventions targeting risk behaviour among young people – such as the use of communication technologies to reduce harmful use of alcohol and high-risk sexual behaviour.

WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women and Children’s Health, Dr Flavia Bustreo said not enough attention has been paid to the health of adolescents.

“We hope this report will focus high-level attention on the needs of 10 to 19 year olds and serve as a springboard for accelerated action on adolescent health,” Dr Bustreo said.

CLICK HERE to read the report.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Doctor Elissa Kennedy

Co-Program Director, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health; Co-Head Global Adolescent Health




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