Intended for healthcare professionals

Child health redesign

Nearly one year after covid-19 was declared a pandemic, the remarkable improvements seen over the past two decades in child and adolescent survival risk reversal. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework adopted in 2015 includes a holistic approach to improving child and adolescent health, still relevant in the wake of covid-19.

The framework is based on recognition that macro level trends, and attaining the SDG’s requires a substantial shift in thinking about child and adolescent health. This entails moving on from a focus on under-5 survival, to recognizing the interconnectedness of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, with understanding of how early life events ripple throughout a child’s life into adulthood.

Demographic and disease burden changes have forced the issue of how countries should strengthen their health systems to be more responsive to the changing needs of children and adolescents. Consequently, the World Health Organization and UNICEF have initiated efforts to reorient their child health strategy, shifting attention towards a life course perspective and away from a previous exclusive focus on under-5 survival. This collection sets out the evidence from the redesign process.


Redesigning health programmes for all children and adolescents
Achieving the sustainable development goals requires a shift in thinking say Jennifer Requejo and colleagues


Demographic challenges and opportunities for child health programming in Africa and Asia
Danzhen You and colleagues call for child health programming to take into consideration changing population sizes and dynamics

Optimising child and adolescent health and development through an integrated ecological life course approach
Fully realising the potential of children and adolescents will require an ecological life course approach, together with multisectoral, coordinated, integrated action for the provision of care and services for children and adolescents, argue Mark Tomlinson and colleagues

Disability in children and adolescents must be integrated into the global health agenda
Alarcos Cieza and colleagues argue that services for children and young people with disability need greater priority

BMJ Global Health research

Patterns and trends in causes of child and adolescent mortality 2000–2016: setting the scene for child health redesign
Kathleen Strong and colleagues call attention to causes of death in older children and adolescents and advocate for measures to address these causes and produce a healthier future generation

Global and regional levels and trends of child and adolescent morbidity from 2000 to 2016: an analysis of years lost due to disability
Urgent implementation of known, effective interventions is needed to address the main causes of morbidity among children and adolescents show Regina Guthold and colleagues

These articles are part of a series proposed by the WHO and UNICEF and commissioned by BMJ, which peer reviewed, edited, and made the decisions to publish these articles. Article handling fees (including printing, distribution, and open access fees) are funded by WHO and UNICEF. Paul Simpson and Emma Veitch were the editors for The BMJ. Seye Abimbola was the editor for BMJ Global Health.

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