AstraZeneca's Young Health Programme

Partnership objectives

  1. AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) has a unique focus on young people and primary prevention of the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory disease.
  2. Working with other expert organisations and combining on the ground programmes, research and advocacy, it targets the risk behaviours such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse and unhealthy eating that can lead to these diseases in adulthood.

A particular focus is placed on working with marginalised young people.

The programme targets the risk behaviours such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse and unhealthy eating that can lead to these diseases in adulthood. The programme targets the risk behaviours such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse and unhealthy eating that can lead to these diseases in adulthood. Copyright Photo Credits: Marco Betti

What are the health needs and challenges?

  • NCDs kill 38 million people each year.1
  • Diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory disease related deaths account for 82% of all NCD deaths.1
  • Sixteen million NCD deaths occur before the age of 70 and 82% of these deaths occurred in low-and-middle income countries.2
  • 70% of premature deaths in adults are largely caused by behaviours started in adolescents.3

These statistics highlight the devastating impact of NCDs on a global scale. 

Why adolescents?

Adolescents make up 25% world’s population4. The foundations for good health in adulthood are set between the ages of 10 and 19, yet adolescent health remains an underserved part of the healthcare agenda, lagging behind the improvements in health among younger children over the past 50 years. 

At the core of the YHP is the commitment to ensure young people are engaged and have a voice in identifying their health needs as well as planning and delivering the solutions. When adolescents are empowered to participate, it results in decisions that better respond to their needs and concerns, contributing to improved development outcomes over the longer term.

The YHP focuses on prevention during adolescence because that is when risk behaviours such as tobacco use, alcohol abuse and unhealthy eating usually start. Scientific research has shown that these behaviours, once formed, are hard to change and can lead to major NCDs like type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory disease, later in life.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Founded in 2010 in partnership with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Plan International, the YHP is currently working together with over 30 expert organisations to improve the future health of young people around the world through on the ground programmes, research and advocacy.

YHP On the Ground Programmes

The YHP is designed with the flexibility to work with local partners to identify NCD risk behaviours of young people in local communities and put tailored programmes in place that will help improve their future health and life chances.

Examples of the YHP on the ground programmes:

  • Russia: A focus on smoking and sport, for  adolescents in orphanages.
  • Brazil and India: Health issues including tobacco use, unhealthy eating, plus the immediate need to address hygiene and sanitation in India.
  • China: Protection against air pollution for migrant children and young people.
  • Romania: Cardiovascular risk prevention. 
  • Kenya: Prevention of the key risk behaviours.

For more information see: Country Programmes.

YHP Research and Evidence Generation

Research is a key part of the YHP. Working closely with grass roots organisations, academics, opinion leaders and policy makers, we support research programmes which help generate the evidence required to prioritise adolescent health and get the prevention of NCDs like type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory disease, on the global healthcare policy agenda.

For more information see: Research and evidence generation.

YHP Advocacy

Advocacy has a vital role to play in getting adolescent health and the prevention of adolescent risk behaviours on the global health agenda and the YHP conducts and supports advocacy activities at many levels. Globally, it participates in targeted public and political health platforms to champion the prioritisation of adolescent health and the inclusion of NCD prevention in global policies and programmes. Locally, it also works with non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners to promote young people’s participation in policy making and improve healthcare services provided for young people.

For more information see: Advocacy.

Since its launch in 2010 Programmes have spanned 20 countries across 5 continents.

To date we have reached:

  • + 1.4 million young people
  • + 12,000 health workers
  • and trained + 27,000 peer educators, making a positive impact on healthcare services provided for young people around the world, making a positive impact on healthcare services provided for young people around the world.

The YHP directly aligns to Sustainable Development Goal 3 ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.’ Through the continued combination of on the ground programmes, research and advocacy focused on NCD prevention and by ensuring youth is heard, the YHP will seek sustainable change that directly supports the target of ‘By 2030 reducing by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.’

References

  1. World Health Organization. (2011). Global status report on non-communicable diseases 2014. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/148114/1/9789241564854_eng.pdfAccessed 25 Feb 2015
  2. World Health Organization. Global status report on non-communicable diseases 2014. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/148114/1/9789241564854_eng.pdf. Accessed 25 Feb 2015
  3. Adolescence: a foundation for future health. Sawyer Susan M,  Rima A Afi fi ,  Linda H Bearinger, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Bruce Dick, Alex C Ezeh, George C Patton. Adolescence: a foundation for future health. The Lancet Volume 379, Issue 9826, 28 April–4 May 2012, Pages 1630–1640. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673612600725
  4. Adolescence: a foundation for future health. Sawyer S M, Afi fi R A, Bearinger L H, Blakemore S J, Dick B, Ezeh A C, Patton G C. Lancet 2012; 379: 1630–40. Available at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/%20lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60072-5/fulltext

Videos

Young Health Programme NCD video

AstraZeneca YHP Infographic

Partnership information

Company(ies) AstraZeneca

Partner(s) Balia Foundation, Basis & Woge e. V, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, George Institute for Global Health, Horizon Corporate Volunteer Consultancy, Imperial College London, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Korean Association for Suicide Prevention, Medicines Du Monde, Mentor Foundation, MindYourMind, NCD Child, Physical and Health Education Canada, Plan International, Population Reference Bureau, Public Health Institute, Red Cross, Red Cross Youth, Romanian Heart Foundation and Junior Achievement (Romania), Stichting Zwerfjongeren Netherland, Swedish Volunteer Bureau, Victoria Children Charity Foundation

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, NGOs, Other Business, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases, Women and Children's Health, Other

Disease(s) Adolescent Health, Asthma, Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes, Family Planning, Sexual & Reproductive Health, General Health, Hypertension, Malnutrition, Mental Health, Respiratory Diseases

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach, Research & Development - Operations Research

Targeted Population(s) Children, Marginalised / Indigenous People, People with low income, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, North America, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 20

Country(ies) Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Kenya, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zambia

Research Country(ies) Worldwide

Start Date 2010

More information AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) Young Health Programme (YHP) Voices Young Health Programme by country

Anticipated completion date 2020

« It combines the capacity of NGOs like Plan to directly reach youth, Johns Hopkins’ highly regarded evidence based research and AstraZeneca's global outreach and networks. This is what is special about YHP and this is what makes it a unique programme. »

Tanya Barron, Chief Executive, Plan UK