Fatalities in adolescence: the facts and figures

A recent report by the WHO has been published about adolescent health – here’s what you need to know.

Did you know that more than 3,000 adolescents die every day worldwide? This totals a staggering 1.2 million deaths a year. 


More worryingly, the majority of these deaths are preventable, such as road traffic injuries (which was the leading killer among 10 to 19 year olds globally in 2015) and suicide.

The top five causes of death amongst teens include lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases and drowning. Nearly two thirds of these deaths occurred in Southeast Asia (26%) and Africa (45%). 

These are the main findings published in a report titled ‘Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescent’. Released this week by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners, it recommends the actions we can take to improve adolescent health.1

What is the significance of the report?

What came out of the report was that adolescent health and well-being are often overlooked. Just by realising that a lot of the deaths are preventable has been an eye-opener for nations around the world. As the WHO put it, “adolescent health is the engine of change in the driver to create healthier, more sustainable societies.” 

The report has been used as an education tool for policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, educators and donors, by providing a wealth of information on how to improve and plan for adolescent health. By educating these key influencers, the WHO is aiming to encourage investment in adolescent health. The goal is to support ongoing efforts to ensure adolescents survive and thrive in the societies in which they live. The WHO says the report “is a milestone for translating its Global Strategy into action.”

Educating members of the public


Full of information, the complete report exists as a 700-page document. Acknowledging that this format didn’t lend itself to easy reading, The WHO partnered with Create Health to offer alternative ways for the general public to absorb the key facts and figures. 

They produced a series of easy-to-digest visual formats including a comic book called ‘Akilah and Carlos Big Day of Discovery’, which illustrates how healthy adolescents can have a positive impact on their communities.  

Another option if you’re short on time is the ‘AA-HA! Guidance Brochure’ which was also designed to educate its readers on the systematic approach towards improving adolescent health - an investment which will subsequently lead to healthier societies.

You can find out more about the report here.

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