Focus on Adolescent Health in China: A landmark supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health on epidemiology, policy, financing and service provision launched today

24 November 2020
Guests speak at a panel discussion during the Publication Launch of Journal of Adolescent Health -Supplement Adolescent Health in China on 24 November 2020.
UNICEF/China/2020/Zhang Yuwei
Guests speak at a panel discussion during the Publication Launch of Journal of Adolescent Health -Supplement Adolescent Health in China on 24 November 2020.

Beijing, 24 November 2020 – UNICEF China and Peking University Health Science Centre are jointly releasing a Supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health for China, entitled: Adolescent Health in China: Epidemiology, Policy, Financing and Service Provision. The supplement, which includes six papers that were developed in partnership with Peking University Health Science Center, and other national institutions, was developed over two years.  The collection of papers offers a comprehensive view of adolescent health needs in China, and investments needed to sustain and build on improvements over the longer term.    

Between 1990-2018, mortality among 5- to 14-year-olds declined from eight to two per 1,000, representing a change that is faster than the global average. However, as the articles included in the supplement point out, the adolescent mortality burden since the 1950s has shifted from communicable to non-communicable diseases requiring review and update of adolescent health policies, the pattern and percentage of health expenditures, and quality and types of health service provided to young boys and girls.  Updated policies that address equal development are also needed, as indicated in the paper that analyzes the health needs among the under-resourced population of left-behind adolescents. The supplement makes a strong case for broadening the adolescent health agenda to meet current needs: adolescent nutrition, mental wellbeing, and prevention of injuries and non-communicable diseases. It offers a framework of adolescent health indicators, and a system for monitoring change that is aligned with the health needs of adolescents in China.

At the launch event, Dr. Zhang Ning, Deputy Director of Peking University Health Science Center, said that “Adolescent health is an important issue on the agenda of the Chinese Government. The series of results presented in the supplement will make a vital contribution to the child and adolescent health-related policy making and research agenda.”

Dr. Song Li, Deputy Director General of Department of Maternal and Child Health of National Health Commission, stated that The Chinese government is highly committed to adolescent health. Sets of indicators and interventions listed in the Healthy China 2030 and China National Program of Action for Child (2011-2020) are relevant to adolescent health. In recent years, National Health Commission has been making great efforts to explore effective service model, enhance service capacity, promote adolescent health and development to meet the needs of adolescents. We hope the multi-sectoral communication and cooperation will be strengthened to care for and focus on adolescent health and facilitate a new era of adolescent health in China.”

As Dr. Douglas Noble, Deputy Representative to UNICEF China, said at the launch event, “UNICEF will continue to strengthen cooperation with academic groups and government, provide support for research in adolescent health, and keep accelerating advocacy and promoting the adolescent health agenda and goals to be achieved to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The event was attended by officials from the National Health Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the All-China Youth Federation, the Development Research Center of the State Council and other relevant government departments,  faculty members and students from academic organizations such as Peking University, as well as experts from the Journal of Adolescent Health, Johns Hopkins University, Melbourne University, UNICEF Headquarters, World Health Organization China, United Nations Population Fund China, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization China Office and other institutions.

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