Revisiting child and adolescent health in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 7 Nov 2020)


Revisiting child and adolescent health in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals
Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Kathryn M. Yount, Quique Bassat, Artur A. Arikainen
Editorial | published 30 Oct 2020 PLOS Medicine
…As we examine the situation more than 5 years into the SDGs, several concerns emerge. Despite progress, the field remains fragmented, with limited actions in countries to develop integrated strategies for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH), or inclusion of adolescent health within national plans [5]. Work on the drivers of adolescent health, well being, and empowerment is underway but has yet to translate into a reasonable global strategy. This lag stems from complex, multilevel social influences during adolescence [6], insufficient disaggregation of data on adolescents, suboptimal measurement and a lack of well-defined indicators [79], and limited evidence on the differential impacts of social policies and programs [8] within adolescence and between adolescence and adulthood. Within health systems, many nutrition programs remain poorly integrated with other RMNCH programs and few have substantive links with sectors outside health. With the unfinished agenda for maternal, newborn and child deaths, rigorous studies to address mechanisms and hitherto unrecognized causes of excess mortality are just beginning to yield results, albeit with older pediatric age groups remaining significantly understudied, even at the simplest descriptive level [5]. Effort is limited to bring mental-health programming to women and children, especially in conflict settings or emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. These silos in research, planning and policy, and service delivery apply equally to other sectors, and to multi-sectoral planning and implementation at country level. To address the SDGs, we must consider life in the 21st century—including the disruptions of technological change, economic shocks, climate change, and conflict and security…