Overcoming challenges to global child and adolescent health – EurekAlert

Special issue from PLOS Medicine also highlights progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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The latest special issue of PLOS Medicine outlines different aspects of child and adolescent health and development, and the social determinants of health. The studies within the collection were selected by PLOS Medicine’s editorial team and guest editors Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Kathryn M. Yount, and Quique Bassat. The accompanying Editorial publishing on September 28th is cowritten by the guest editors and Caitlin Moyer, and focuses specifically on the health of infants, children, and adolescents in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The guest editors stress the relevance of the special issue in light of the ongoing pandemic. They point out that “there are legitimate concerns that COVID-19 has negatively impacted progress in achieving the SDGs globally, and that urgent redirective strategies are needed before hard-earned gains from the 2000-2015 MDG [Millennium Development Goal] period are reversed.”
The research studies publishing in the issue include papers examining the drivers and determinants of child and adolescent health in diverse and challenging contexts. Adversity brought by poverty, pollution, worsening climate, and by experiencing violence and conflict can impact child health. Reports on key health issues and interventions across childhood and adolescence include severe bacterial infections among neonates, anti-infection measures and nutritional supplementation to improve neonatal and child outcomes, cash transfers combined with additional interventions to improve child health in low- and middle-income countries, and sexual and reproductive health factors among adolescent girls.
Further studies focus on the intersection of child health and existing and challenging environments, including pre- and post-natal care for women in conflict settings, air pollution and neonatal outcomes, vaccination coverage in drought conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, and psychosocial circumstances relating to injuries in adolescents. Additional PLOS Medicine papers will continue to be added to the special issue over the coming weeks.
The guest editors note that to maintain the focus on child and adolescent health with reference to the SDGs: “…it is necessary to recognize and attend to the health inequities among children and adolescents arising from differentiated exposures to dynamic social contexts around the globe, including urban poverty, environmental degradation and extreme climates, violence and conflict, and unsafe school, family, and social environments”.
The guest editors add, “This collection of studies from across the world underscores the importance of the social and contextual determinants of child and adolescent health and development, as well as promising innovations to improve survival, health, and well-being.”
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available papers:
Editorial manuscript information:
Citation: Bhutta ZA, Yount KM, Bassat Q, Moyer CE (2021) Sustainable Developmental Goals interrupted: Overcoming challenges to global child and adolescent health. PLoS Med 18(9): e1003802. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003802
Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this work.
PLoS Medicine
Not applicable
Competing interests: I have read the journal’s policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: ZAB is an Academic Editor on PLOS Medicine’s editorial board. ZAB, KMY, and QB serve as Guest Editors on PLOS Medicine’s Special Issue on Global Child Health: From Birth to Adolescence and Beyond. CEM is a salaried Associate Editor for PLOS Medicine. Outside of this work, ZAB receives a salary from his position as the Inaugural Robert Harding Chair and Director of Research at the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health and also a joint appointment as the Founding Director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health of the Aga Khan University; the Centre receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates Ventures, Aga Khan University, the International Development Research Centre, Global Affairs Canada and the University of Toronto. ZAB also serves on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee for which he receives an annual honorarium; and on other boards, committees, and advisory groups with various organizations in a non-remunerated capacity. Outside of this work, KMY carries out research funded by grants from Woodruff Health Sciences Centre, Emory Global Health Institute, International Fund for Agricultural Development (through the International Food Policy Research Institute), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (through the International Food Policy Research Institute), Kendeda Fund (through Care USA), the US National Institutes of Health, and the Anonymous Foundation; she is a reviewer for NIH, IDRC, and IFPRI and receives honoraria for this work.
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