The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health 2.0

Realizing the health and wellbeing of adolescents


The inclusion of adolescent health in the Global Strategy of the UN Secretary General on Women’s and Children’s Health represents an unprecedented opportunity to increase efforts to ensure that every adolescent has the knowledge, skills, and opportunities for a healthy and productive life, and enjoyment of all human rights. While many aspects of adolescent health are important, the priority of the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Global Strategy needs to lie on giving adolescents voice, choice and control over their own bodies. Although adolescents are in general a healthy population group, they have specific needs and pose different challenges for the health-care system than adults or children, due to their rapid biological, emotional and social development. Adolescents are diverse and not all face the same risks, constraints, and deprivations. Ensuring their healthy development requires making the health services and system work for adolescents – but also addressing risk factors in the social environment and focusing on factors that are protective across various health outcomes including the enabling legal and policy environment. This paper suggests that in order to realize the health and wellbeing of adolescents, countries will need to adopt holistic health policies for adolescents and include programs to educate them about, and help them build judgment and skills for preventing injuries, violence and self-harm, good sexual and reproductive health outcomes, preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and other pivotal aspects of physical and mental health and development. A global, participatory movement to improve the health of the world’s adolescents is needed as part of a broader agenda to improve the well-being and uphold the rights of adolescents everywhere. The EWEC Global Strategy presents such a unified platform that allows countries


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