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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 46-47

Why not universally empower adolescents? Commitment by the World Health Organization

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication24-Jun-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2350-0298.184671

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Why not universally empower adolescents? Commitment by the World Health Organization. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2016;3:46-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Why not universally empower adolescents? Commitment by the World Health Organization. Int J Adv Med Health Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Sep 19];3:46-7. Available from: https://www.ijamhrjournal.org/text.asp?2016/3/1/46/184671


In the global mission to achieve millennium development goals, significant improvements have been made in the field of child health, well-being, and survival.[1] Owing to the progress made, a large proportion of children are surviving the first decades of their lives, and subsequently the population of adolescents is also increasing, with one in every six persons being an adolescent worldwide.[1] From the policymaker perspective, adolescents constitute a vulnerable and unique group, which is not only exposed to physical and emotional changes, but are very much dependent on their parents for guidance.[2]

The global estimates suggest that in 2012, close to 1.3 million adolescents lost their lives (due to road accidents, HIV, suicides, etc.), and many developed diseases/disability, almost all resulting because of preventable/treatable causes.[1] As most of these illnesses can significantly interfere with the quality of life and ability of adolescents to grow and attain maximum potential, it is very much crucial to promote healthy practices during adolescence so that not only the incidence of health problems but also even its long-term impact on health and burden on the health care delivery system can be reduced.[1],[2],[3] It is worth noting that most of the existing adolescent welfare strategies are fragmented and does not comprehensively address the variable needs of them.[4]

Acknowledging the magnitude of the adolescent population, wide gaps in the existing health strategies, and a dearth of targeted interventions, the World Health Organization in partnership with another international welfare agency has released a newer set of global standards to ensure quality assured health care services are delivered to adolescents.[5] Multisectoral efforts are needed to improve the various determinants of health so that sustainable development goals can be successfully achieved. In addition, various dimensions including reproductive, nutritional, and health-related aspects have to be addressed to comprehensively improve health standards of the adolescents. These standards have been formulated to not only aid policy makers in enhancing the quality of health services but also, at the same time, ensure that these are “adolescent-friendly.”[4],[5]

In addition, an extra emphasis has been given to the training aspect of the health professionals as most of them have never been sensitized during their curriculum about the special needs of the adolescents and that proper guidance can deliver long-term results.[5] Further, these standards have also been supplemented with an implementation plan (strategies needed) and the monitoring tools to evaluate the overall progress.[5] In addition, targeted interventions in adolescent boys/girls including training them in life skills education can prove of vital importance.[2],[5] Furthermore, to achieve sustainable results, the current strategy of involving other stakeholders (such as schools, and social networking sites) should be further strengthened and explored.[2],[4],[5]

To conclude, the global standards for ensuring quality assured health care services to adolescents goes beyond the conventional services and aims to offer a comprehensive package of information, counseling, diagnostic, treatment, and supportive care services so that adolescents find it easier to access health services that they essentially need to promote, protect, and improve their health and well-being, irrespective of the settings.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Adolescents: Health Risks and Solutions – Fact Sheet No. 345; 2014. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs345/en/. [Last accessed on 2015 Oct 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
Lassi ZS, Salam RA, Das JK, Wazny K, Bhutta ZA. An unfinished agenda on adolescent health: Opportunities for interventions. Semin Perinatol 2015;39:353-60.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rasanathan K, Damji N, Atsbeha T, Brune Drisse MN, Davis A, Dora C, et al. Ensuring multisectoral action on the determinants of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health in the post-2015 era. BMJ 2015;351:h4213.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sivagurunathan C, Umadevi R, Rama R, Gopalakrishnan S. Adolescent health: Present status and its related programmes in India. Are we in the right direction? J Clin Diagn Res 2015;9: LE01-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
World Health Organization. Global Standards for Quality Health Care Services for Adolescents. Geneva: WHO Press; 2015. p. 1-7.  Back to cited text no. 5


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