• Population, Health, & Environment Approaches: Enhance Youth Leadership & Development

    This web feature describe how PHE projects contribute to youth development. Youth are defined in these products as young people between the ages of 10 and 29. The web feature illustrates how youth leadership and inclusion within integrated approaches contribute to sectoral outcomes, and includes two case studies and videos that explore these outcomes.

  • Population, Health, & Environment Approaches: Enhance Youth Leadership & Development

    This policy brief and web feature describes how PHE projects contribute to youth development. Youth are defined in these products as young people between the ages of 10 and 29. The web feature illustrate how youth leadership and inclusion within integrated approaches contribute to sectoral outcomes, and the web feature includes two case studies and videos that explore these outcomes.

  • Evaluating the impacts of protected areas on human well-being across the developing world

    The world has committed, through the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), to halt biodiversity loss and increase protected area (PA) coverage and to reduce multidimensional poverty by half by 2030.

  • Blog post
    Mothers with their children in Nepal.

    Mothers with their children in Nepal. © 2013 Valerie Caldas/ Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Courtesy of Photoshare

    This spring, between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, K4Health will be shining a spotlight on the integration of family planning with maternal, newborn, and child health services. On our new page on this topic and via our blog, we’ll highlight diverse perspectives and ideas, innovative models for integration, practical tools for implementation, the latest evidence on what works, and much more.

    Let’s be honest—integration of family planning into maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) services is a very broad topic. There are so many points at which clients seeking MNCH services intersect with health care providers who could also discuss family planning. These opportunities include antenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, immunization visits, other infant and child wellness visits, and adolescent care. 

    Yes, Adolescent Care. 

    Even though there is no “A” in MNCH, acknowledging the need for adolescents to have access to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services is crucial. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites that about 16 million girls ages 15 to 19, and some 1 million girls younger than 15, give birth every year. Most adolescent pregnancies occur in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Blog post
    © 2008 Daniel Rhee, Courtesy of Photoshare

    A mother at a transitional camp in Uganda holds her child, whose severe malnutrition is revealed by reddish hair coloration. The ongoing conflict in northern Uganda has resulted in the forced displacement of 1.7 million Acholi, and these individuals are awaiting relocation after their release from internally displaced persons camps. © 2008 Daniel Rhee, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Much of the global-level writing and thinking about adolescent pregnancy focuses on large-scale statistics and results rather than on the young women and families affected. We know that countless girls and women face difficult and often harrowing physical, social, and economic circumstances associated with child marriage and early pregnancy. We also know that projects, organizations, and people are working tirelessly all over the world to improve the lives of women and girls—but what does this look like on the ground?

    I was lucky to attend a small roundtable discussion last week with Alice Achan, founder of Pader Girls’ Academy in Northern Uganda. As a child, Achan watched her 11 older sisters be married off as children and endure gender-based violence, complications of early pregnancy and childbirth, and other forms of suffering. Her father, who reaped their bride prices, grew to be one of the wealthiest and most respected members of their community. At the same time, Achan was also living through the unspeakable brutality and widespread sexual violence against women proliferated by the conflict in Northern Uganda.

    “War or no war, the lives of women are the same. There is still a war on women.”

  • Blog post
    © 2012 Akintunde Akinleye/NURHI, Courtesy of Photoshare

    IUDs are displayed on a table at the counseling unit in Yusuf Dantsoho memorial hospital in Nigeria’s northern city of Kaduna. © 2012 Akintunde Akinleye/NURHI, Courtesy of Photoshare.

    The buzz around long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) for teen pregnancy prevention reached a fever pitch in the U.S. last month. First, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new guidelines recommending that LARCs be the “first line” of contraceptives for preventing adolescent pregnancy. That is, pediatricians should recommend LARCs such as IUDs and implants before shorter-term contraceptive methods such as condoms and pills for teens.

    Days later, The New England Journal of Medicine published the impressive results of a new study showing that providing adolescent girls in the U.S. with information about, and affordable access to, LARCs can reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion by more than 75 percent.

    These developments deserve our attention. Despite steep declines over the past two decades, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate continues to be one of the highest in the world among high-income countries. While male condoms—currently the most widely used contraceptive method among American teens—are essential to preventing sexually transmitted infections, they have a typical pregnancy-prevention failure rate of 18 percent. Widely popular oral contraceptive pills aren’t far behind at 9 percent. In contrast, both IUDs and implants have failure rates of less than 1 percent.

  • Blog post

    Each year about 18 million adolescent girls under the age of 19 give birth, and about three million adolescents ages 15 to 19 undergo unsafe abortions worldwide. Childbirth and pregnancy-related complications are the number one cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 in low- and middle-income countries. Early pregnancy increases the risk of anemia, postpartum hemorrhage, prolonged obstructed labor, obstetric fistula, and malnutrition for young mothers. Adolescents are more likely than women over the age of 20 to have stillbirths and give birth to infants with low birth weight. A girl who becomes pregnant also faces numerous societal consequences. She may be forced to drop out of school and confront discrimination in her community, and she is more likely to have a lower income and more children at shorter intervals over the course of her lifetime.

    © 1996 Carlyn Saltman, Courtesy of Photoshare

    A health worker approaches a woman who is recuperating in bed in "Put Yourself in Her Shoes," a training video set in Zambia on postabortion family planning counseling.© 1996 Carlyn Saltman, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy is critically important for adolescents’ health, education, and wellbeing; however, youth face many barriers to avoiding or delaying pregnancy. Social pressure to marry early and have children and lack of access to contraception impede adolescents’ ability to avoid pregnancies, which puts their lives and health at risk.

  • Blog post
    This post originally appeared on the Interagency Youth Working Group's (IYWG) blog, Half the World
    Written by Kate Plourde, Technical Officer, FHI 360. 
    Eduardo Martino, Save the Children, Department for International Development

    In 2012 an estimated 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV. Young people ages 15 to 24 accounted for an estimated 40 percent of new nonpediatric HIV infections worldwide, and perinatal HIV transmission remains a major cause for HIV infection among adolescents. Before antiretroviral therapy (ART) was developed and expanded, children infected with HIV did not usually live to adolescence. But today, thanks to widespread HIV care and treatment programs, they can lead long, healthy, and productive lives. The same is true for those who are infected as adolescents — young people ages 10 to 19 — as long as they know their HIV status. As HIV infections among adolescents continue to rise and more children living with HIV are surviving into adolescence, the unique needs of adolescents living with HIV require much more attention.

  • Blog post

    LeaderNet: Advancing Healthcare Leadership, Management, and Governance

    This post, by Erin Portillo, originally appeared on the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) Blog.  HC3 is co-hosting an online discussion forum on LeaderNet, a web-based platform for global health peer-to-peer learning an exchange, is run by K4Health partner Management Sciences for Health (MSH).  The online discussion forum will run from April 22-24, 2014, and will focus on Youth and Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health. For frameworks, case studies, and practical strategies on youth-focused reproductive health, visit the four Toolkits on Youth hosted by K4Health, including the Youth Policy Toolkit and the Integrating Reproductive Health into Youth and Development Programs Toolkit.

    Youth are increasingly a priority audience for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) projects around the world. But the role youth play in designing and implementing these interventions often varies, or is limited — and this can mean programs intended to affect positive changes in young people’s lives aren’t as effective as they could be. So what can we, as proactive youth and older SRH professionals, do?

    Participate in answering this question and posing new ones in an online discussion from April 22-24, 2014. Young people and adults working in SRH programming are invited to share their ideas on SRH youth engagement.

  • Blog post

    This post by Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), originally appeared on Devex. Babatunde and UNFPA are "calling for a youth goal to be included in the coming post-2015 development agenda" noting that by making "small investments in women’s and children’s health, would be possible to not only avoid unnecessary deaths, but also have healthier, more productive individuals, communities and countries." At the recent International Conference on Family Planning, there was much talk about the unmet need for family planning among young people. Ministers of Health from across Africa visited clinics around Addis Ababa and held an all-day meeting titled The Youth Dividend: Return on Investment in Family Planning. The solutions range from the grand policy solution to nuancing a media message. Free primary education is a preventive factor for early pregnancy, and has been implemented in Kenya and other countries. On a smaller scale, behavior change communications materials might benefit from using language other than 'family planning' when talking with young people who have an unmet need for contraception, but who are not thinking in terms of planning their families. What are the best ways to meet the unmet need for family planning among young people? Tell us in the comments.

    A mother and her newborn at a maternity ward in Dili, Timor Leste

    A mother and her newborn at a maternity ward in Dili, Timor Leste. Small investments in women's and children's health will yield a large return, according to the Global Investment Framework for Women's and Children's Health.

    Photo by: Ron Haviv / UNFPA


    A recent study published in The Lancet found that an increase of only $5 per capita per year in 74 of the poorest countries in the world can result in a nine-fold social and economic return.

    The Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health — supported by the U.N. Population Fund, the World Health Organization and other partners — shows that small investments in women’s and children’s health will yield a large return. By making the additional investments needed for life-saving interventions, it would be possible to not only avoid unnecessary deaths, but also have healthier, more productive individuals, communities and countries.

    The social and economic benefits would include preventing the needless deaths of 5 million women, 147 million children, and 32 million stillbirths by 2035. Nearly all of the averted maternal deaths would be in low- or lower-middle-income countries, two-thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. The benefits would also include greater GDP growth through increased employment, productivity and personal income.

    From UNFPA’s perspective, the framework touches a key development area: sexual and reproductive health. A key finding of the analysis reconfirms what UNFPA has always said — that reducing the unmet need for family planning is a primary driver of the benefits, accounting for half of all the deaths prevented in the accelerated investment scenario.

    The push by the international community to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health, is rightly putting family planning and choices at the heart of our combined efforts. And, to achieve and sustain inclusive development, we must also focus on young people, in particular young women and girls.