Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Adolescent health in the Sustainable Development Goal era: are we aligned for multisectoral action?
  1. Asha George1,
  2. Tanya Jacobs1,
  3. Rajani Ved2,
  4. Troy Jacobs3,4,
  5. Kumanan Rasanathan5,
  6. Shehla Abbas Zaidi6
  1. 1School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, Cape Town, Western Province, South Africa
  2. 2National Health Systems Resource Centre, New Delhi, Delhi, India
  3. 3Global Health Support Initiative III, Rockville, MD, USA
  4. 4The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  5. 5Health Systems Global member, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  6. 6Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University Faculty of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Asha George; asgeorge{at}


Adolescents are an increasing proportion of low and middle-income country populations. Their coming of age is foundational for health behaviour, as well as social and productive citizenship. We mapped intervention areas for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, including HIV, mental health and violence prevention to sectors responsible for them using a framework that highlights settings, roles and alignment. Out of 11 intervention areas, health is the lead actor for one, and a possible lead actor for two other interventions depending on the implementation context. All other interventions take place outside of the health sector, with the health sector playing a range of bilateral, trilateral supporting roles or in several cases a minimal role. Alignment across the sectors varies from indivisible, enabling or reinforcing to the other extreme of constraining and counterproductive. Governance approaches are critical for brokering these varied relationships and interactions in multisectoral action for adolescent health, to understand the context of such change and to spark, sustain and steer it.

  • child health
  • health policy
  • health systems

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Twitter @ashageorge72

  • Contributors AG, TaJ and SAZ initially conceptualised the submission with additional inputs from TrJ, KR and RV. TaJ led the extraction of systematic reviews and reports. AG and TaJ developed the main table of analysis. AG drafted the submission. All authors provided inputs. AG finalised the submission.

  • Funding AG is supported by the South African Research Chair’s Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant No 82769), the South African Medical Research Council and the Countdown 2030 project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Disclaimer Any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the author and funders do not accept any liability in this regard.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data for this paper included publicly available articles and documents and no additional data was generated. These articles and documents can be made available should that be required.