The Young Health Programme (YHP) is vaccine maker AstraZeneca’s global community investment initiative focused on non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention, delivered in partnership with Plan International and informed by research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
YHP aims to reduce the uptake of unhealthy behaviours in young people to improve their health outcomes as adults and help address the growing burden of NCDs on health systems. YHP India is the longest-running programme in the global YHP family and was first launched in Delhi in 2010 across five project sites. In 2016, the YHP was renewed in India and shifted its activities to five new communities in North West Delhi. In 2018, the YHP expanded to Chennai.
Over the past 5 years, the Young Health Programme has reached more than 234,000 young people through direct, meaningful interactions and health promotion activities like theme-based competition drawing, debates, quizzes, writing, sports, plays and storytelling. Most of these activities are delivered at Health Information Centres (HICs), community-based sites that are focal points for the YHP, by Peer Educators trained through the programme. More than 26,000 youth are registered at the 15 YHP HICs in North West Delhi.
Since YHP India launched in 2010, the programme has trained more than 6,400 Peer Educators and delivered health information to more than 475,000 youth in communities around Delhi and Chennai.
Gagandeep Singh, Managing Director, AstraZeneca India, said, “Our Young Health Programme reflects our commitment to support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and more specifically, reduce premature mortality caused by non-communicable diseases by one-third. In India, NCDs account for 62% of all deaths and 48% of preventable premature deaths[i]. When we also consider that more than 2/3 of premature deaths can be linked back to NCD risk factors like tobacco use, physical inactivity or poor diet, which were first established in adolescence, the case for turning our attention to young people becomes critically clear[ii]. YHP India has been created to support the delivery of these important global development goals.”
Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, Plan International India Chapter, said, “We are extremely proud of our partnership with AstraZeneca and all that it has accomplished here in India over the past decade. More than 50% of the population of India is under the age of 25[iii]. Young people are our future and it is critical that we support their healthy growth and development. Through our Health Information Centres (HIC), an environment that encourages literacy, work skills, self-expression, and leadership development, we are working to empower young people from some of our most vulnerable communities to make informed choices about their health and increase their potential for a healthier future.”
Globally, YHP has reached more than 5 million young people in more than 30 countries around the world. In 2020, AstraZeneca made a global commitment of $35 million to renew the YHP for another 5 years and set new and ambitious goals. From 2021 to 2025, AstraZeneca YHP aims to reach 10 million more young people with health information in countries around the world.
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