There is a growing conversation among adolescents, communities, organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders concerning the future and health of adolescents around the world. There are close to 1.8 billion adolescents living in the world today. Many are healthy while others lack access to the vital health services and education they need to grow and thrive. The leading growing issues include but are not limited to complications leading to pregnancy and childbirth, access to sexual and reproductive health services, gender-based violence and the over 2 million adolescents who are living with HIV. In order to ensure young people can transition well from youth to adulthood, these issues must be adequately addressed.
The renewed Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health, set to be launched in September 2015, is a roadmap for ending all preventable deaths of women, children, and adolescents by 2030 and improving their overall health and well-being, and builds upon the 2010-2015 Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health launched by the UN Secretary-General. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) has been organizing consultations to effectively inform a renewed strategy. Central to this conversation are the voices of adolescents and young people themselves.
Yesterday, we had an engaging conversation with youth and thought leaders addressing global priorities for adolescent health. The discussion included an amazing group of panelists including, Cecilia Garcia, Founder of Espolea and board member for PMNCH, Patrick Mwesigye from AfriYAN and Laura Laski, Chief of UNFPA’s Sexual and Reproductive health branch. The panelists candidly shared the challenges adolescents face in accessing health services, primarily including access to comprehensive sexuality education and SRHR health services. Opportunities related to improving adolescent health were also discussed. Adolescents are being engaged through working groups and various programs including one led by UNFPA in India and a second one in Argentina called program Sumar. There was an overwhelming agreement among the panelists that adolescents themselves must be involved in the conversation. Cecilia and Patrick both urged those watching to participate in the conversation online as well as to rally their national governments and other stakeholders to commit to prioritizing adolescent health and engaging youth in the post-2015 agenda.
Watch the Hangout
You can also read our Storify recap here.