Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

International Year of Youth

12 August 2010 - 11 August 2011

Thursday 12 August marked the launch of the International Year of Youth with the theme of "dialogue and mutual understanding". On this occasion, WHO's Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (CAH) undertook a number of activities to raise awareness and galvanize support for improving the health of young people.

WHO's Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, was among the 27 heads of UN agencies to sign a Joint Statement which was shared with dignitaries and media at the global launch of the Year at UN headquarters in New York.

It includes the following passage: "We all agree that health is a human right and an integral part of youth development. Many young people die prematurely or see their future health jeopardized by preventable health problems such as HIV infection, too-early or unwanted pregnancy, injuries, the use of tobacco or alcohol, and malnutrition. Investments in health care, including universal access to evidence-based sexual and reproductive health programmes are crucial to prevent unwanted pregnancies, maternal mortality, sexually transmitted infections and other threats to young people’s health."

WHO also published a new Fact Sheet for the media on the health of young people, which was featured as the top story on the WHO web site.

In addition, a WHO Podcast was produced on the topic of the International Year of Youth featuring UNFPA's Executive Director, Thoraya Obaid, as well as interviews with CAH staff and young people.