Together in Providing Holistic Adolescent and Youth Care
2nd IAAH MENA Region IAAH Conference – Muscat, Oman, 2018
In Oman, according to the annual health report, adolescents and youth aged 10-24 years constitute 28.3% of the population. These young people are not only the future of any nation; they are also very much its present. Oman`s Ministry of Health has realized the importance of adolescent health and it became one of the priorities of its 9th Five-Year Developmental Plan. Current adolescent health programs and initiatives in Oman include:
Establishing a governmental adolescent health section under the Department of School and University Health in the Ministry of Health
Designing clinical and preventive services to accommodate the unique health needs of adolescents and youth, including a University Health Initiative.
Creating an adolescent medicine curriculum as a mandatory rotation for all pediatric residents under the Oman Medical Specialty Board.
Implementing health promotion programs with standard guidelines including peer education, counseling for adolescents, health-promoting schools and girls’ health.
Conducting research related to adolescent health, participating in the Global School Health Survey (GSHS) and Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS).
Establishing good partnerships with related sectors, including the Ministry of Education, UN Agencies (UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF) and relevant NGOs to promote school and adolescent health.
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos had reflected on Oman’s commitment to its young people in a speech at a national event: “The Year of Youth… is a truthful invitation to pay attention to the Omani being who is the civilization maker, the goal of development and the development and reconstruction tool… The lofty goal of this year is the reminder, the alertness and the clear direction that youth are always at the core of our concerns… We call upon all to take care of our youth and to nurture their aspirations and objectives. At the same time, it is equally important that we appeal to young people to realize their great role in building the nation in various fields.”
Recognizing these positive developments, Oman was chosen to host the Second Adolescent Health Conference for the IAAH MENA region from 22nd – 24th October 2018 in Muscat. The conference was well-attended by 280 participants, including global leaders and experts in adolescent health from 20 countries in the MENA region and beyond.
The presentations and discussions resulted in the adoption of the ‘Muscat Declaration’. This thoughtful and comprehensive declaration was rooted in the global imperatives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) and the Global Accelerated Action for Health of Adolescent (AA-HA) implementation guidance. It was guided by the recognition that appropriate evidence is required for all decisions that influence and affect the health and wellbeing of adolescents and youth. It reflected a great many common issues with other IAAH regions:
Meaningful engagement of youth;
An integrated, comprehensive, age-appropriate approach promoting multi-sector collaboration in adolescent health care (e.g. education, nutrition, child protection and legislation);
Addressing the leading causes of death and disability in the region, including road traffic accidents, early, forced child marriage, violence, injuries, mental health, substance use, communicable and non-communicable diseases;
Seeking good school-based health education and services;
Doing effective research and collecting meaningful, properly disaggregated data;
Creating a skilled, responsive workforce across health and non-health sectors.