The International Association of Adolescent Health (IAAH) is one of the two major International NGOs working to promote health and wellbeing of adolescents at a global level. IAAH has recently agreed to allocate a separate region within its structure for the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). The Egyptian Society for Adolescent Medicine (ESAM) celebrated this event by organizing the First Regional Conference in Cairo, May 12th-14th, 2017. The conference was well-attended by global leaders and experts in Adolescent Health, from 26 countries and 12 International Organizations. The Regional Vice-President of IAAH has invited The Ministry of Health in Oman to organize the Second Annual Regional Conference in October 2018 as a token to acknowledge the distinguished efforts made by the ministry to advance adolescent healthcare in the country.
There are currently more than 100 million adolescents living in the Middle East and North Africa region. In Oman, according to the annual health report, adolescents and youth(aged 10-24 years) constitutes 28.3% of the Omani population .These young people are not only the future of any nation; they are also very much it’s present. They signify a tremendous societal power that ought to be well utilized. When realizing their full potential, adolescents are creative, innovative and become an active partner in development. Ban Ki-moon said recently that: “Young people are the World’s greatest untapped resource”.
Adolescents and youth are young people between 10-24 years and they are often thought to be a healthy group. However, many adolescents prematurely die because of accidents, suicide, violence, complication of early pregnancy and other diseases that are preventable. In addition, many risky behaviors in adolescence may lead to serious diseases in adulthood. For example, unhealthy diet, inactive life, obesity, tobacco use and Sexually Transmitted Infections may lead to illnesses or premature death later in life.
There has been marked recent global interest in promoting adolescents’ health and development. However, many of these initiatives are focused on young people in the developed countries and are tailored to their distinct lifestyle and particulars. They do not consider the fact that young people in the developing countries live in much less privileged environment, are subjected to different sociocultural issues and are facing unique health hazards.
Based on the facts given above, Oman`s Ministry of Health has realized the importance of adolescent`s health promotion and it became one of the priorities of it`s 9th five Year Developmental Plan. The main adolescent`s health programs and initiatives in Oman are:
- Establishment of adolescent`s health section under the Department of School and University health in Ministry of Health
- Implementing Health promotion programs with standard guidelines: peer education, counseling for adolescents, health Promoting Schools, Girl`s Health
- University health initiative in order to provide health education and basic health services to university students
- Conducting researches related to adolescent`s health such as Global School Health Survey(GSHS) and Global Youth Tobacco Survey(GYTS)
- Good partnership with sectors especially Ministry of Education and UN Agencies (UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF) and relevant NGO`s to promote school and adolescent`s health
Based on these initiatives, the Oman`s Ministry of Health is therefore was chosen to host the Second Adolescent Health Conference for the IAAH MENA region during the period October 22-24rd, 2018 in Muscat. The Ministry is hereby requesting participation in realizing an effective conference in Muscat, Oman.