• Your Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda,
• Honourable Ministers and Members of Government;
• Representatives of UN Agencies and international organizations;
• Young people among us
• Ladies and gentlemen
• Welcome Mrs Jeanette KAGAME, First Lady of Rwanda, for her gracious acceptance to participate, and deliver the keynote address at this special event.
• Welcome all participants especially young people; special welcome to panellists, moderator, look forward to their expert insights on how to stimulate actions on the health of adolescents and their development.
[Why this meeting, now]
• This special event on adolescents comes at a critical juncture: Improved adolescent health is key to achieving SDGs, the objectives of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ health.
• Until now, their specific health and development needs were previously given less attention and were not fit for purpose.somewhat neglected, under-considered.
• Now, growing momentum to put adolescents at the heart of global health policies and strategies. Multiple benefits: for adolescents now, their adult life and the next generation; also bring wide ranging effects on adult health and economic development.
• Growing recognition that adolescence is the best time to target healthy behavior and risk prevention to protect their health, avert unnecessary disease and death.
[What needs to be done]
• We need to formulate goals for healthy development of adolescents linked to sexual and reproductive health, communicable and noncommunicable disease agenda.
• Effective preventive interventions and access to treatment and care services need to be applied, scaled up. The impact of how health services are delivered to adolescents and adults needs to be monitored and reviewed, with gaps and obstacles addressed directly.
[What WHO is doing]
• In the context of the Transformation Agenda of WHO in the African Region to transform health on the continent, made adolescent health our Flagship Programme to make adolescents the human face of the SDGs.
• The Flagship Programme - opportunity to foster implementation of evidence-based interventions to guide, support countries, partners to deliver interventions for the greatest numbers of adolescents.
• Provides opportunity for integration, delivery of quality services for and with adolescents.
• Fundamental to have engagement, participation of all sectors, actors for the success of the Flagship Programme – for a prosperous, healthy and sustainable Region.
• Requires joint actions, ‘whole of government approach’ to support implementation of interventions across sectors – including adolescents - in line with the Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescent Guidance (AA-HA Guidance) launched during WHA.
• WHO cannot take on this challenge alone – requires country leadership, collaborative partnerships, joint actions and powerful agents to champion adolescent health and development.
• Each entity can build on its own comparative advantage to make a positive difference.
• Look forward to stimulating discussion on how we can all stimulate actions with adolescents, for adolescent health, as part of the Flagship Programme implementation.