3,000 adolescents die every day

By Joyce Namutebi

Most of these deaths can be prevented with good health services, education and social support

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Road traffic injuries, lower respiratory infections, and suicide have been listed as the biggest causes of death among adolescents, which death claims 3,000 of them every day, a new report has revealed.

Most of these deaths can be prevented with good health services, education and social support. But in many cases, adolescents who suffer from mental health disorders, substance use, or poor nutrition cannot obtain critical prevention and care services – either because the services do not exist, or because they do not know about them, a press release issued today has said.

In addition, many behaviours that impact health later in life, such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and risky sexual health behaviours, begin in adolescence, the latest report by WHO and partners has said adding  that In 2015, more than two-thirds of the adolescent deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and South-East Asia..

 Data in the report titled “Global accelerated action for the health of adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country implementation” reveal stark differences in causes of death when separating the adolescent group by age (younger adolescents aged 10–14 years and older ones aged 15–19 years) and by sex.

The report also includes the range of interventions – from seat-belt laws to comprehensive sexuality education – that countries can take to improve their health and well-being and dramatically cut unnecessary deaths.

The AA-HA! Guidance recommends interventions across sectors, including comprehensive sexuality education in schools; higher age limits for alcohol consumption; mandating seat-belts and helmets through laws; reducing access to and misuse of firearms; reducing indoor air pollution through cleaner cooking fuels; and increasing access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.

The AA-HA! Guidance was produced by WHO in collaboration with UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, World Bank, the Every Woman, Every Child initiative and The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn , Child & Adolescent Health.

The document will be launched at the Global Adolescent Health Conference: Unleashing the Power of a Generation, in Ottawa, Canada today.