On July 29, Knowledge SUCCESS and FP2020 hosted the second session in our new webinar series, "Connecting Conversations"—a series of discussions on adolescent and youth reproductive health. Missed this webinar? You can follow the links below to watch the recording and register for future sessions.
Jane Ferguson, MSW, MSc, was the featured speaker for this second “Connecting Conversations” session, “A Historical Overview of Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health.” This session discussed themes touched upon in our first session—which highlighted the transformative power of adolescence as a life stage—and provided an important lens through which to understand adolescent and youth reproductive health policy and programming.
Currently an international consultant on adolescent health and development, Ms. Ferguson worked at the cutting edge of developments in the field of adolescent health for over 30 years with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. Her experience spans policy, technical guidelines, research agendas, and program support on a variety of issues including reproductive health, HIV, and adolescent girls. Her rich insights and knowledge helped provide an important cornerstone as we continue with our first series module on a foundational understanding of adolescent development and health.
Ms. Ferguson reviewed a timeline of global adolescent health events and publications since 1985, and showed a short World Health Organization (WHO) video: Health for the World’s Adolescents. Walking us through the history of international reports and guidelines that shaped global and country-level adolescent health programming over the last 50 years, Ms. Ferguson highlighted the critical role played by young people in health and development. She also stressed the importance of addressing both individual and structural issues that affect the health and wellbeing of adolescents.
For the majority of the session, I had a conversation with Ms. Ferguson, asking questions submitted by participants. In response to these questions, she discussed a range of issues, including: the most significant milestones and challenges faced in the field, monitoring and evaluation of adolescent reproductive health programs, increasing government support for adolescent reproductive health, meaningfully engaging youth in their own reproductive health programming, and integrating adolescent reproductive health with other areas of health care.
She ended the discussion by offering some salient advice for younger professionals: She reminded us that we have already made huge progress and encouraged us to “build on success” as we continue to strive for improved adolescent reproductive health around the globe.
Did you miss this session? You can watch the webinar recording (available in both English and French) and get caught up before the next session on August 19, “How Social Norms and Cultural Practices Influence and Affect AYRH.”
“Connecting Conversations” is a series of discussions on adolescent and youth reproductive health—hosted by FP2020 and Knowledge SUCCESS. Over the next year, we will be co-hosting these sessions every two weeks or so on a variety of topics. You may be thinking, “another webinar?” Don’t worry—this is not a traditional webinar series! We’re using a more conversational style, encouraging open dialogue and allowing plenty of time for questions. We guarantee you will be coming back for more!
The series will be divided into five modules. Our first module, which started on July 15 and runs through September 9, is focusing on a foundational understanding of adolescent development and health. Presenters—including experts from organizations such as the World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins University, and Georgetown University—will offer a framework for understanding adolescent and youth reproductive health, and implementing stronger programs with and for young people. Subsequent modules will touch on themes of improving young people’s knowledge and skills, providing services, creating supportive environments, and addressing the diversity of young people.