Strengthening Health Literacy for Adolescent and Youth

17 May 2018, Addis Ababa: Strengthening Health Literacy for Adolescent and Youth Organizations workshop which is part of the activity planned to support the implementation of the WHO-Flagship programme for adolescent health in Africa is conducted in Ethiopia from 15-17 May 2018.The workshop aimed to strengthen youth leadership and meaningful participation in promoting health to adolescents who may be left behind from the mainstream development.

The workshop is inaugurated by Dr Akpaka A. Kalu, WHO Representative from Ethiopia Country office and by His excellency Dr Ephrem Tekle, Director MCH Directorate representing State minister, H.E. Dr Kebede Worku , Ministry of Health.

Participants of Strengthening Health Literacy for Adolescent and Youth workshop

Dr Ephrem Tekle, Maternal and Child health Directorate from Ministry of Health in his opening remark highlighted that “Adolescents have vulnerable to complex health and socioeconomic challenges. It is important for African governments and international community to invest in adolescents with an overall developmental program approach to address social determinants of their health.” Dr Ephrem added that “1 in 6 of the world’s population is adolescents aged 10 to 19. As estimated by the 2015 World Population Prospects 2015 revision, 23% of Africa’s population is adolescents. Preparing adolescent to tackle current challenges is critical for the continent as African youth continue to rise.

Her Excellency Caroline Wangamati, First Lady Bungoma county, Kenya  declared that “The influencers of policy, like myself,  should make sure that we advocate the right policies and let young people be involved in  policies development   Their voice need to be heard even in the legislation of the policy that we set up.” H.E. also urged donors and partners to fund youth organizations directly so that they can work with their constituency and prepared  young people be ready and strive to face this challenge.

Dr Akpaka Kalu, WHO Representative from Ethiopia Country Office addressing the participants in his welcoming speech said that  concerned government sectoral ministries, stakeholders and partners need to increase investment to address not only the health issues of adolescents but also socio economical determinants of their health and well-being. He also urged to be more innovative in supporting youth to better equip themselves to be leader in health. Dr Kalu also calls up on countries’ ministry of health to implement the recently launched Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AAHA) Guidance to improve adolescents’ health.
The youth representative, Ms Gogontlejan Phaladi, Pillars of Hope Project, who is the youngest Philanthropist and the 10th Commonwealth point of Light award recipient of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lauded the voice of the African youth. She highlighted that young people have to use their potential to tackle numbers of health issues. Many youth organizations works with youth in difficult circumstances. She urged adults and authorities to consider opportunities to harness the innovations made by young people and other business that have reached adolescent in so called “hard to reach”. If no adolescent are able to escape from media, advertisement for tobacco, alcohol, or unhealthy products, no youth should be left behind any services.

During this workshop, DR Symplice Mbola presented WHO Regional Director’s vision on “Flagship for Adolescents Health” for the youth organizations and panel discussion was held focusing on Youth Organizations’ experience on health matters as well as on Adolescents health priorities. Different topics related to adolescents health were covered in the plenary session and the group activities which was followed by short presentation was focused on determinants of adolescent health and understanding health literacy.

Health literacy is strategic actions to accelerate improvement of adolescent health and an instrumental process to empower youth capacity to address health beyond sexual and reproductive issues.  Increase functional or critical health literacy among individual adolescent, their peers, families and communities will also increase their abilities to make a sound decision to take care of their physical, mental and social health.  This workshop is also strengthen youth leadership in health along with platform for youth to exchange innovative actions/ideas. 

Finally, a roadmap has been developed to strengthen adolescent health literacy to advance the existing programmes and activities in order to reach hard to reach and disadvantage groups of adolescence.

The participants of this workshop composed of 26 representatives from youth organizations in the African Region, 4 partner agencies (focus on youth empowerment) including UNFPA, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UN Women, African Union who also shared their experiences and supports to countries, and 3 WHO Inter-country support team. The workshop was facilitated by4 WHO Regional Officers (CAN, HPD, HSS) and 2 experts (from WHO Collaborating Center).

For Further information please contact:
Dr Suvajee Good, Programme Manager, Health Promotion and Determinants of Health (HPD); WHO-AFRO; Email: goods [at]
Selamawit Yilma, EPI Communications Officer, WHO Ethiopia; yilmas [at]
Wassihun Belay, Health Promotion Officer, WHO Ethiopia, belayw [at]

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For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
Yilma Selamawit

Tel: +251 911 671134
Email: yilmas [at]