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New Delhi: The stage is set for The World Congress on Adolescent Health billed as the biggest event on adolescent health which is coming to India for the first time. Held once every 4 years, the International Association for Adolescent HealthÂs 11th World Congress on Adolescent Health, ÂInvesting in Adolescent Health Â the Future is NowÂ will be held here from 27-29 October 2017.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of the conference, Prof Susan Sawyer, president of International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH) said India had been chosen to host the conference as it has thelargest number of adolescents in the world. “ When we started the IAAH in Australia 30 years ago as a resource to help build capacities in the field of adolescent health, we had people only from high income countries but now there is participation from across the world since 90 per cent of the adolescents are in middle and low income countries,ÂÂ she said.
The world is home to 1.2 billion adolescents, and India has the largest population of adolescents in the world Â 253 million with every fifth adolescent in the world being an Indian and every second adolescent being an Asian.
Over 1,000 delegates from 65 countries across the world will share their experiences and learnings during the conference.
The World Congress seeks to cover topical themes through discussions in sessions such as ÂGlobal adolescent health: Opportunities and challengesÂ, ÂProgramming for adolescent health in India: RKSK and beyondÂ, ÂToward a gendered approach to adolescent healthÂ, ÂMental health and adolescentsÂ, ÂEarly Adolescent Health and Development in Low and Middle-Income CountriesÂ, ÂSocial Media, Sexting, Addiction, Oh My! Adolescent Health in the Digital AgeÂ, and more. There will also be debates on topics including the need for parentsÂ consent in their child’s clinical care or participation in health research; the role of brain imaging in adolescent care and health promotion; and on whether to promote condoms or contraceptives among adolescents.
According to Dr Sunil Mehra, Executive Director, MAMTA Health institute for Mother and Child the country is faced with challenges such as early marriage, early pregnancies, malnutrition and obesity and violence.ÂÂ
Globally, adolescence is demographically dense – a period which encapsulates tremendous change in relation to critical life events such as transitions from education to employment, and formation of families and parenting. Adolescence is also the period in which individuals experience the greatest change in health and health-related behaviours across their lifetime. Well recognized as a time of risk for health, increasingly adolescence is now recognized as a period of opportunity for health, in which individuals gain the assets and resources to sustain health across the life-course.
The mortality of adolescents globally stands at a staggering 1.5 million deaths per year
Unintended injuries such as road traffic accidents and drowning are the leading causes of death among adolescents, together with self-harm, interpersonal violence, communicable diseases and teenage pregnancy.Tobacco, alcohol and other substance use contribute to health concerns among adolescents (e.g. injuries) and are associated with unemployment, accidents, depression and suicide during adolescence. Yet, rather than being a passing phase, these behaviours and states risk reverberating across the life-course, contributing to the future burden of disease in adults and to that of the next generation.
ÂThe world is looking up to IndiaÂs National Adolescent Health Programme (Rashtriya Kishore SwasthyaKaryakram) after its win over polio, said Dr V. Chandra-Mouli from WHO.
The World Congress is being organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child (MAMTA) along with a consortium of partners.