Make Adolescent Health & Well-being a Priority

Why now?

The Sustainable Development Goals and global political momentum behind Universal Health Coverage (UHC) offer significant opportunities to build collective global and national action towards achieving universal health coverage for adolescents

Why a Call to Action?


-        Adolescent Health: The Missing Population in Universal Health Coverage

This paper sets out the evidence base on adolescent health and makes the case that to achieve Universal Health Coverage, policy makers need to take urgent action on the leading killers of young people.


-        Target SDG 3.8 - Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.




‘As a second sensitive development opportunity after early childhood, adolescence represents an optimal period in life to learn healthy behaviors, social and labour skills, and human rights protections that last throughout the life-course.’

There are 1.2 billion adolescents (10-19 years old) worldwide today and this number will rise through 2050. Nearly nine out of ten adolescents live in low- and middle-income countries. Their future health and wellbeing will greatly depend on key education opportunities and their access to health services to stay healthy, empowered, embracing gender equality norms and demanding rights.

Healthy and empowered young people can be a significant driving force towards equitable societies and prosperous economies but to achieve this we must ensure that UHC and wider SDG agenda delivers for them.

While the majority of adolescent health issues are preventable or treatable, adolescents face multiple barriers in accessing knowledge, information, and health care. Currently, their access to health and social services, jobs, and livelihoods are often strained. They have failed to experience the improvements in health and development seen by younger children, and their needs are not being met. They are the missing population in the current global health agenda




To ensure every adolescent has a fair chance to live a healthy prosperous life, we are urging the international community and national governments to commit to strong and decisive action on adolescent health.

Our call to action sets out the case for investing in adolescent health and identifies six clear actions to get us there. This was a result of an open and long consultation process involving several partners.

Should you have any questions about the consultation process or the final call to action please don’t hesitate to contact


Become a signatory

Following the integration of your edits, we intend to issue a call for signatories a few weeks before the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 (12-14 November).We will be sharing the Call to Action at the Nairobi Summit, ahead of a formal launch on 20 November to celebrate the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Following the launch, further organizations will have the opportunity to endorse the call to action - with new signatories accepted on a rolling basis.