GHC WHA Statement on Agenda Item 13.3 – Operational plan to take forward the Global Strategy on Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health

Thank you the opportunity to deliver this statement on behalf of GHC and AAP. The report on implementation appropriately highlights the importance of what are described as “new challenges”: early child development; adolescent health; the health of women, children and adolescents in humanitarian and fragile settings; and multi-sectoral responses to addressing the underlying determinants of poor health. As the designation suggests, these critical issues are not adequately addressed in the contemporary global health space. This will require new approaches and strategies across all stakeholders, including donors, country governments and WHO itself.

The strategy’s inclusion of adolescents provides a welcome opportunity to re-envision service delivery and its ability to contribute to a comprehensive healthcare system that meets the needs of previously underserved populations, including youth. This is not a call for separate new programs. Young people can benefit from access to a continuum of care that provides prevention and treatment for themselves and supports their health, planning and capacities as current or potential parents.

Young people and their families should be treated as partners in the development of policies and programs that affect their lives. Health systems should plan specifically for the needs of children, and should be youth-friendly and family-centered, with universal access to affordable and quality-assured essential medicines and technologies for children and adolescents.

Improved data collection is needed to systematically collect and monitor morbidity and mortality data, including for NCDs, disaggregated by age and sex from birth to 24 years. This is essential for effective planning that includes the needs of children and adolescents, as well as to ensure that women, poor and marginalized populations, and individuals with disabilities and special needs receive equitable access to care.

Thank you.