"Nearly all" 3,000 adolescent deaths each day "preventable": WHO

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Photo: UNICEF/Adriana Zehbrauskas

"Nearly all" of the estimated 3,000 adolescent deaths each day around the world are "preventable" according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than two-thirds of the deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and South-East Asia, with traffic collisions, respiratory infections and suicide the biggest causes overall.

Matthew Wells reports.

More than 1.2 million adolescents die prematurely each year, but in most cases, says WHO, those young lives could be saved with better health services, education and social support.

WHO Assistant Director-General, Flavia Bustreo, said that adolescents – those aged ten to 19 – have been "entirely absent from national plans for decades" adding that relatively small investments in key areas could "result in healthier future generations, yielding enormous returns."

Differences between regions of the world, and between sexes, proved to be stark, with road injuries during 2015, the leading cause of deaths for boys aged 15-19.

For girls, the leading cause of death aged ten-14 were lower respiratory infections like pneumonia, while pregnancy complications and unsafe abortions, led for girls aged 15-19.

For low- and middle-income countries in Africa, HIV/AIDS, meningitis and respiratory infections were bigger causes of death than road injuries.

Suicide and self-harm were also major causes, resulting in around 67,000 deaths in 2015.

In many cases, said the WHO report, adolescents suffering health disorders, substance use or poor nutrition cannot get prevention or care services, because they either don't exist, or they just don't know about them.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’16″

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