Adolescent-responsive health services

3 July, 2018

Introduction below. Full text here:


By Dr. Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, Scientist, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research and the Human Reproduction Programme.

“If my parents learn that I am pregnant, they will throw me out of the house.”

“I don’t need a lecture from you. Can you just give me some condoms?”

“My mother-in-law does not want me to take the pills and my husband does not want to oppose her.”

“I want to know what my son says to you. I am paying for this consultation. I will not wait outside.”

“I cannot tell my girlfriend about this infection. That is out of question.”

Training alone cannot prepare health workers to deal with questions like the ones above and other challenging situations they often face in providing sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents.

There is widespread acknowledgement that a competent and caring health worker is critical to the provision of adolescent-responsive health services. To achieve this, there is strong consensus that we need to invest in building and supporting the abilities of health workers to respond to their adolescent patients—and, where relevant, their caretakers—effectively and with sensitivity and respect...



'We should put an end to off-site, one-off in-service training programs. We should replace these training initiatives with a combination of pre-service training and ongoing, off- and on-site training (with a preference for the latter).

'We should ensure that training initiatives have limited and clearly defined objectives, involve small groups, and use multiple methods, with an emphasis on participatory and interactive elements. Training should be carefully monitored to ensure they are carried out with quality and fidelity.'

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (, which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: