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About SickKids

February 24, 2014

Global Child Health Day focuses on adolescent health

By Justin Faiola and Rebecca Milec

On Feb. 18, 2014 the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health hosted Global Child Health Day 2014 at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning. It was the eighth annual event of its kind, bringing together esteemed speakers and thought-leaders from Canada and around the world for meaningful discussion about the core issues concerning global child and adolescent health and the strategies to address them.

This year's thought-provoking program explored the theme of global adolescent health. According to figures from UNICEF there are almost 1.2 billion adolescents worldwide, accounting for almost one fifth of the world’s population – with nearly 90 per cent living in low- and middle-income countries.

Over 150 participants joined to hear presentations and panel discussions from leading international experts, among them the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Stanley Zlotkin, Chief, Centre for Global Child Health, welcomed participants and introduced the work of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, the hub for global child health-focused activities at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families in resource-poor environments around the world.  

The keynote address was given by leading international adolescent health experts Professor Susan M. Sawyer of the Royal Children’s Hospital, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Australia, and Professor George A. Patton, also of the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne and the University of Melbourne, Australia. Their presentations examined the challenges and issues concerning adolescent health and global health-care systems – an area that requires effective action on a global scale.

Further presentations highlighted how adolescent health is central to global health agendas in sexual and reproductive health, mental health, injury prevention, and non-communicable diseases. Discussions raised issues factors such as education and other social determinants as core issues linked to health outcomes, and there was recognition of the potential to promote a healthy start to life for the next generation by addressing health and nutritional risks in adolescents before pregnancy and parenthood. The panelists also explored the need to engage young people themselves in shaping the adolescent health agenda and achieving progress.  

Global Child Health Day 2014 was accompanied by networking sessions, booths for child health-focused, non-profit exhibitors, and a photography exhibition in The John Francis and Susan Caskey Gallery at the Gilgan Centre.

Learn more about SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Learn more about SickKids Global Child Health Day 2014