The Adolescent Health Unit was established in 2008, years after the MPH in Child and Adolescent commenced. The MPH programme was developed to address the needs of adolescents who comprise a significant proportion of the population – nationally and globally. At the onset of the MPH programme, there was no Masters programme with a focus on adolescent health issues within the nation. Neither children and not yet adults, adolescents represent the successes of various child survival programmes instituted over three decades ago. They are often regarded as healthy and disease-free, and their health and development issues have remained largely underserved. The MPH in Child and Adolescent health was thus developed as one avenue for addressing this gap. The Adolescent Health Unit was subsequently established to spearhead and coordinate all activities relating to adolescent health undertaken by the Institute of Child Health.
The mission of the unit is to be at the forefront of activities to improve adolescent health and development nationally and globally. This will be done through manpower development (via the MPH programme and other medium and short-term courses), conducting innovative research in order to inform policy and practice locally and internationally, provision of comprehensive adolescent health services within an adolescent-friendly environment and provision of consultancy to government and other organizations on adolescent health issues.
Our focus is on research and other activities relating to contemporary issues that affect adolescent health and development including:
- Determinants of adolescent health-risk behaviours
- Epidemiology of Communicable and non-communicable diseases in adolescents
- Determinants of adolescents’ access to healthcare and preventive services (vaccines, family planning commodities etc)
- Improving access to healthcare and preventive services for vulnerable adolescents e.g. adolescent parents and adolescents with babies
- Cost effectiveness of adolescent health programmes