Why Adolescent Health And Why Now?
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
With less than two years left to the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for maternal and child health and survival, the UN Secretary-General’s independent Expert Review Group (iERG) for monitoring progress did something remarkable last year. In their 2013 annual report, “Every Woman, Every Child: Strengthening Equity and Dignity Through Health,” the iERG devoted an entire chapter to adolescent health, stating that “priorities for adolescents are invisible in both the Secretary-General’s Global Strategy and the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women and Children’s Health. Adolescents are marginalized, frequently living in poverty, and with fewer opportunities than many groups in society.” The group recommended that adolescents must be taken more seriously in efforts to improve health worldwide.
At a time when the world is focused on addressing the core MDG targets for maternal and child mortality, why did the iERG raise the issue of adolescent health? The reasons are multiple. It is clear that this age group has been shockingly ignored in global health to date. There are almost 1.2 billion adolescents in the world, and almost 90 percent live in low and middle income countries.