Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): guidance to support country implementation

WHO and partners recommend actions to improve adolescent health

Two mekong youth enjoy time together.
WHO

More than 3000 adolescents die every day from largely preventable causes, according to a new report from WHO and partners. Global accelerated action for the health of adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country implementation – assists governments in what to do – as well as how to do it – as they respond to the health needs of adolescents in their countries. Case studies show that what is being recommended actually can be done. The full document with case studies, a summary document, a comic book, brochure and infographics are available below.

Coming of age: adolescent health

Two adolescent girls take a selfie photgraph.

24 September 2018 -- The world now has more young people than ever before – of the 7.2 billion people worldwide, over 3 billion are younger than 25 years, making up 42% of the world population. Around 1.2 billion of these young people are adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years. Adolescence is a critical time of life. It is a time when people become independent individuals, forge new relationships, develop social skills and learn behaviours that will last the rest of their lives. It can also be one of the most challenging periods. "Coming of age" examines these issues facing adolescents.

Summary and main document

A group of adolescents studying.
Edith Kachingwe

Main document including case studies

Summary document

Comic book

Akilah and Carlos embark on an adventure and discover the importance of the role that all children and adolescents can play in their communities.


The case for action

Adolescents bear a substantial proportion of the global disease and injury burden

  • Adolescents are one sixth of the world’s population.
  • They account for 6% of the world’s global burden of disease and injury.
  • The recent very rapid declines in mortality among infants and young children have not been mirrored among adolescents.
  • Adolescence is the period when many risky behaviours start having a major impact on their health as adults.
  • Adolescent health needs particular attention in humanitarian and fragile settings.

Estimated top five causes of adolescent death by sex and age, 2015

Causes of adolescent deaths.

Source: Global Health Estimates 2015: Deaths by Cause, Age, Sex, by Country and by Region, 2000-2015. Geneva, World Health Organization; 2016.

Early adopter countries and regional workshops

19 June 2018
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines launched the National Action Plan for Adolescent Health and Development in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization. The plan launched on 19 June 2018 was developed following recommendations of the WHO AA-HA! guidance document.

Links to event

27 May 2018
Following the national AA-HA! workshop in June 2017, the government of Sudan has developed the national Adolescent Health Strategy (2018-2022) known as “FIVE S strategy”. The process was led by the Directorate of Maternal and Child Health of the Federal Ministry of Health and involved the Ministry of General Education, Ministry of Sport & Youth, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior, three UN agencies (WHO, UNCIEF, UNFPA), youth and key Civil Society Organizations.

7 May 2018
The government of Haiti has embarked in the development of a comprehensive national adolescent health strategy using the AA-HA! guidance as a reference document. The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, in collaboration with other UN agencies, worked with the national team to facilitate the process of need assessment, landscape analysis and prioritization to inform the future strategy.

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