Providing adolescent girls with comprehensive health care is essential in developing countries. Yet, many of these programs are not adequately funded. The World Bank has funded the Adolescent Girls Initiative, a public-private partnership that aims to make the transition from school to productive employment as easy as possible for adolescent women. The program tests innovative interventions and then replicates them if they prove successful. In its first year, the initiative’s results were promising.
The program began in February 2010, and has since graduated more than 2,000 adolescent girls. The first two rounds of training involved 810 adolescent girls in 2010; the third was completed this year with the training of 1,664 adolescent women. The program covered 39 different occupations in 44 districts across Nepal. The adolescent girls who were trained in these livelihoods received life and enterprise skills training. In addition to receiving vocational training, they were supported in their job search and in starting their own businesses.
To achieve the goal of improving adolescent girls’ health, organizations must develop and implement community-based programs. These programs must be focused on adolescents who are out of school, married, living with disabilities, or otherwise excluded from common programming channels. To be effective, organizations should collect data about the varying circumstances of adolescents in each community. In Ethiopia, for example, the Population Council used a community-level child well-being assessment tool to determine the most marginalized communities.
A health system strengthening approach is vital to achieving the goals of empowering adolescent girls. This approach can provide an affordable solution to a complex problem. By improving community health systems, countries can prevent and treat the underlying causes of adolescent ill health. By using adolescent-specific indicators, communities can tailor their programs and services to benefit adolescent girls.
Developing countries have historically neglected adolescent girls’ health. Providing adolescent girls’ centric care in adolescent girls’ deprived communities can increase the chances of healthy adulthood for both sexes. In addition, adolescent girls’ empowerment leads to better overall health and safety. They are also less likely to become pregnant.
In developing countries, many organizations serving adolescent girls lack the proper framework for programming. While most recognize the complexities of adolescent girls’ health risks, few have agreed on which intersectoral approaches will work best. While some organizations combine school-based sexual education with cash transfers, others use adolescent girls’ centric approaches to achieve the most significant impact.
In developing countries, it is crucial to ensure that adolescents are able to access the right resources. Currently, there are more than 600 million girls in the world and their numbers are increasing. In many of these countries, they are the fastest-growing population in terms of population. Furthermore, these countries’ health and social behaviors are shaped during adolescence. This is a critical time to ensure that the future of the adolescent girl is protected.
In the developing world, health and education systems are unable to change the underlying factors that cause poverty. Adolescent girls’ centric care in developing nations needs to focus on the fundamental causes of their adolescent health. The goal is to improve the quality of their lives and to empower them to make wise decisions for their families.
In developing countries, most threats to adolescent girls’ health are preventable and require a comprehensive response that goes beyond the health sector. There are a number of promising approaches that have a strong evidence base, but need further evaluation. However, these recommendations apply to all girls to varying degrees, depending on the specific needs and priorities of the various countries. In addition to addressing the root causes, improving adolescent girls’ centric care is vital to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and preventing the occurrence of pregnancies.
In addition to these research findings, adolescent girls’ mortality rates are high in many developing nations. While the global average is under a percent per thousand population, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have significantly higher mortality rates. For both regions, the excess death rate is caused by gender-based discrimination, which limits their opportunities. In addition, many developing countries force young girls to marry young men, which drastically affects their education and engagement in their peers.