Holistic action is needed to address reproductive, maternal, childhood, and adolescent health, as well as nutrition and development, according to the Optimising Child and Adolescent Health and Development series published in The Lancet on April 27, 2022. Arguing that global progress on child health had stalled even before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted services, the series highlights the need for greater integration and implementation of evidence-based interventions across health, education, and social systems.
At the launch event and in a commentary, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, traced the global health movement for improving child survival from the The Lancet’s 2003 child survival series through the present. Since 2000, global child deaths have decreased from over 10 million deaths annually to over 5 million. However, disparities have shown little improvement, crucial data gaps remain, and a sense of complacency still hinders effective action.
The series includes four original research articles and two commentaries; many of the series’ authors are also investigators on Countdown to 2030. The launch event on 28 April 2022 included presentations from Countdown investigators Robert Black, Ties Boerma, Zulfiqar Bhutta, and Cesar Victora. A recording of the launch event is available online:
The series comments are:
The original research articles are:
- Health and development from preconception to 20 years of age and human capital
- Effects of early-life poverty on health and human capital in children and adolescents: analyses of national surveys and birth cohort studies in LMICs
- What can work and how? An overview of evidence-based interventions and delivery strategies to support health and human development from before conception to 20 years
- Improving health and social systems for all children in LMICs: structural innovations to deliver high-quality services