Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health

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By Miriam Temin and Ruth Levine

This report shows that a girl who reaches adolescence typically begins it in good health. But a variety of health issues during her adolescent years will determine her future — and the wellbeing of her family for generations to come.

Will she speed or slow the spread of HIV/AIDS? How much will she be able to contribute to her family and community? As a teenage mother, will her body be mature enough to withstand childbirth – and will she be old enough to ensure her baby’s  health? The authors contend that the health of girls is primarily shaped by social factors, not biological.

It is followed by an ambitious but feasible action agenda.


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For Girls Health: Take Action

1. Implement a comprehensive health agenda for adolescent girls in at least three countries.

2. Eliminate marriage for girls younger than 18.

3. Place adolescent girls at the center of international and national action and investment on maternal health.

4. Focus HIV prevention on adolescent girls.

5. Make health–system strengthening and monitoring work for girls.

6. Make secondary school completion a priority for adolescent girls.

7. Create an innovation fund for girls’ health.

8. Increase donor support for adolescent girls’ health.

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