“India has 253 million adolescents (10 to 19 years), more than any other country, and equivalent to the combined populations of Japan, Germany, and Spain. But India isn’t doing enough to ensure they become productive adults.”

Adolescent health is especially important to India if it is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)–a set of universal goals to end poverty, hunger and achieve equality–which the country has committed to the United Nations.

Key Facts;

  • More than 1.1 million adolescents aged 10-19 years died in 2016, over 3000 every day, mostly from preventable or treatable causes.
  • Road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death among adolescents in 2016. Other major causes of adolescent deaths include suicide, interpersonal violence, HIV/AIDS, and diarrheal diseases.
  • Half of all mental health disorders in adulthood start by age 14, but most cases are undetected and untreated.
  • Globally, there are 44 births per 1000 to girls aged 15 to 19 per year.

In 2016, 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV and 260,000 became newly infected with the virus. The number of adolescents living with HIV has risen by 30% between 2005 and 2016 in India. The number of adolescents dying due to AIDS-related illnesses tripled between 2000 and 2015, the only age group to have experienced a rise.

In 2016, 55,000 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 had died through AIDS-related causes. AIDS is now the leading cause of death among young people in Africa and the second leading cause of death among young people worldwide.

Teen pregnancies are at a greater risk of mortality and morbidity. Therefore, they have been receiving attention with Millennium Development Goal and Sustainable Development Goal including targets for reducing maternal mortality. Our record globally on improving the situation needs more attention. The global adolescent birth rate has declined from 65 births per 1000 women in 1990 to 45 births per 1000 women in 2015.

However, approximately 16 million girls aged 15–19 years and 2.5 million girls under 16 years of age give birth each year in developing regions. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15 to 19-year-old girls globally. Every year, some 3.9 million girls aged 15–19 years undergo unsafe abortions.