Child and adolescent health in Europe: monitoring implementation of policies and provision of services
To promote children’s health in Europe, the WHO Regional Office for Europe developed a strategy for child and adolescent health for the period 2015–20, which was adopted by all 53 European member states. The priorities of the strategy are broad and include action around supporting early childhood development, reducing exposure to violence, and tackling mental health problems in adolescence. The strategy’s implementation was monitored with a survey of 82 questions sent to the ministries of health in all member states in 2016. Responses were received from 48 countries (91% of the region). Encouragingly, three-quarters of countries have either adopted or plan to develop a national child and adolescent health strategy. However, variation exists in the adoption of key components of the regional strategy and in the collection of data. For example, access to sexual and reproductive health services is unequal across the region, and childhood obesity and mental health are key areas of concern. Such survey data helps member states and the general public review achievements and address obstacles for children and adolescents realising their full potential for health, development, and wellbeing. The survey will be repeated in 2019 to identify subsequent changes in child and adolescent health in countries across Europe.