Child and adolescent development: An expanded focus for public health in Africa


Mark Tomlinson
University of Stellenbosch
Charlotte Hanlon
Addis Ababa University, College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine
Anne Stevenson
Harvard University T H Chan School of Public Health


Global public health has improved vastly over the past 25 years, and especially in the survival of infants and young children. However, many children, particularly in Africa, continue to live in poverty and in unhealthy, unsupportive environments, and will not be able to meet their developmental potential. In other words, they will survive but not thrive. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stress sustainable development, not just survival and disease reduction, and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health proposes a Survive (end preventable deaths), Thrive (ensure health and wellbeing) and Transform (expand enabling environments) agenda. For children to thrive they must make good developmental progress from birth until the end of adolescence.

Addressing the social determinants of developmental problems, this volume offers a broad, contextualised understanding of the factors that impact on children and adolescents in Africa. Unlike other works on the subject, it is Africa-wide in its scope, with case studies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa. Covering mental health as well as physical and social development, it looks at policies and practice, culture and priorities for research, identifying challenges and proposing solutions.


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21 June 2022


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.