G20 Co-branded event on ‘Health and Well-being of Adolescents and Youth’ held

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“A country’s ability and potential for growth is determined by the size and strength of its youth population. Youth can be a dominant force for development when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive”, said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya while inaugurating the ‘Health of Youth – Wealth of Nation’, a G20 co-branded event organized by the health ministry in collaboration with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, Child Health (PMNCH), on Tuesday here.

The global gathering discussed the health and well-being needs of 1.8 billion adolescents and youth worldwide, and foster increased attention and investment by G20 nations in the health of adolescents and youth.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Mandaviya said, “India’s G20 presidency will be a leap forward to ensuring that the needs and rights of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are addressed, that their voices are heard, and they have access to the resources and opportunities necessary for their optimal development.”

Highlighting the Indian Government’s commitment towards youth empowerment, Mr Mandaviya said, “this co-branded event focusing on the health and well-being of adolescents and young people with the theme ‘Health of Youth Wealth of Nation’ underlines the Government of India’s leadership in promoting investment in human capital of adolescents and young people and we want to inspire other G20 nations to advance the development of the next generation to build stronger, greener economies and vibrant societies.”

The Union Health Minister encouraged the dignitaries to deliberate on key areas of adolescent-friendly health care including mental health support and assistance, nutrition programmes and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. He said, “We must value and create spaces for meaningful participation, which involves young people in decision-making processes that affect their lives.”

Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Deputy Health Minister of South Africa, Ms. Helen Clark, PMNCH Board Chair, Mr Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator (India), Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, Director of Technical Division, UNFPA Headquarter and were also present on the occasion.

Highlighting that India is home to one of the world’s largest youth populations, with a staggering 378 million adolescent and youth and 65% of the nation’s population under the age of 35, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar stated, “our government firmly believes in the transformative power and boundless potential of our youth. Their energy, ideas, and determination hold the key to shaping the future trajectory of our great nation”.

Ms. Helen Clark, PMNCH Board Chair noted that young people today are facing a lot of challenges that are not of their making. Urging countries to address the challenges faced by the youth today, she said, “the call for action is urgent and time to act is now”.

Deputy Health Minister of South Africa, Mr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo shared his insights on the challenges faced by the youth and the efforts being made by his government to these challenges and improve their health and well-being. He stated that majority of population in Africa are young people and it is therefore important to ensure that they get proper tools, information, education and opportunity to become responsible stakeholders in future.