AstraZeneca Young Health Programme
The AstraZeneca Young Health Programme is designed to help young people in need around the world deal with the health issues they face so they can improve their chances of living a better life. We are working with expert partners, Plan Ltd and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, to identify the needs in our local communities and to help address these needs with a combination of work on the ground, research and advocacy.
Why adolescent health?
Because it is a significantly underserved aspect of the healthcare agenda. Globally, the greatest health issues for this age group are related to sexual and reproductive health. Early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, have a considerable impact on their health as well as negatively impacting individual life chances. Other health issues can be dependent on geography and include substance abuse such as tobacco and alcohol, mental health problems, including suicide, violence, accidents and injuries, and suboptimal diet ranging from general malnutrition in poorer communities to obesity in high income countries.
Adolescence is a critical time for paving the way to good health in adulthood. Research has shown when young people have more control over their social environments they make better behavioural choices regarding their health, (Harris 2010).
Global framework, local flexibility
The Young Health Programme provides a global framework with the flexibility to enable our local business units to identify urgent young health needs in their local communities and address these with appropriate and sustainable local programmes.
The areas of focus for the local programmes vary from country to country. For example:
- AstraZeneca in India are focusing on hygiene, infection and reproductive health
- In Brazil and Zambia, we are educating young people on sexual and reproductive health
- AstraZeneca UK are helping young homeless people improve their mental and physical health
- In Sweden, Canada and Korea, the focus is on improving the emotional and mental well-being of vulnerable adolescents
- AstraZeneca Romania are focusing on cardiovascular risk prevention in young people and developing a national educational programme in schools.
Measuring the impact
A range of measures have been put in place to assess both the community benefit and business benefits of Young Health Programme, using the LBG model. This framework enables us not only to see progress made against our target of reaching one million young people over five years but also to identify the outputs and impacts of the programme on the ground as it is rolled out by country.
Employee volunteering in work time and based on quality over quantity is encouraged to support the programme benefits further. Employee involvement has been facilitated by the introduction of a global volunteering allowance for all employees. To date, 5,045 hours have been donated to volunteering for the programme, with the overwhelming majority of employees being new to volunteering in work time.
For further information, visit the Young Health Programme website. This site is aimed at organisations and individuals who work with young people to provide information on the Young Health Programme and share materials and resources.
At a global level, research is being conducted to build an understanding of the health needs of the most disadvantaged youth across the world and is looking particularly at the barriers to these young people accessing health information and services.
This research is being led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the principle component is the Well-being of Adolescents in Vulnerable Environments (WAVE) Study. This two-phase study has started in Baltimore (US), Shanghai (China), Johannesburg (South Africa), New Delhi (India), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Ibadan (Nigeria). The site in Ibadan is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the other sites are funded by AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme.
The first phase includes formative research providing qualitative data on the health needs of 15-19 year olds in very disadvantaged communities in these cities. The second phase includes quantitative research with a representative sample of approximately 2,400 adolescents – 400 from each location, providing data on the key health issues identified in the qualitative phase of the research.
Research findings will be used to inform those responsible for designing health services for adolescents of the changes needed to support disadvantaged youth more effectively.
The Young Health Programme aims to raise awareness of the particular health needs of adolescents and to advocate for the better provision of the health services this age groups are missing, particularly among those most in need. To date, the partnership has;
- Made a commitment at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to combat Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in young people through integrated global research, advocacy, education and health-skills training.
- Presented an advocacy document ‘NCDs and Adolescents – an opportunity for action’ alongside the UN General Assembly in conjunction with the NCD Child Alliance, the International Pediatrics Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Presented at a series of global events including the 2010 International Congress on Urban Health and the WHO conference on the social Determinants of Health in 2011.
What's next in this section
Read details of our 2012 performance.Read more