In a Huffington Post article entitled, "Why Adolescent Health And Why Now?" DCP3 author Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta and Dr. Stanley Zlotkin of the Centre for Global Child Health discuss the need for focus on adolescent health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). They argue that although there are 1.2 billion adolescents globally, and that 90% of these adolescents live in LMICs, the global health community has largely neglected the health needs of this population. And the missed opportunities are significant.
Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among teenage girls in LMICs. Adolescent boys are disproportionately pushed into child labor, and have a high risk of engaging in drug use and violence. Adolescents also account for almost 40% of new HIV infections in LMICs.
The reasons for this neglect are complex and varied. The authors conclude that a lack of consensus regarding human development, non-existent or poor data collection, and confusion about appropriate platforms contribute to researchers and policy-makers' inaction on potential interventions.
The Disease Control Priorities Network is working to address this gap in knowledge and action. By gathering the most up-to-date information on adolescent development (including physical, emotional, and cognitive development) from the field's leading experts, DCP3 hopes to catalyze research and implementation of cost-effective health interventions for adolescents. More information on DCP3's work in adolescent health, including information from Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, can be found in Volume 3 "Child & Adolescent Development."