AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme Impacts More than 4.75 lakh Young Lives

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Bengaluru: The Young Health Programme (YHP) is 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.

On the occasion of World Health Day, we are proud to announce the impact of YHP India’s Delhi activities from 2016 through 2020, demonstrating how we are working collaboratively to build a fairer, healthier world through NCD prevention.  Over the past five years, the YHP 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 2020, 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.

While commenting on this, 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 per cent of all deaths and 48 per cent 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 was 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 per cent 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 five 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 five years and set new and ambitious goals.  From 2021 to 2025, the YHP aims to reach 10 million more young people with health information in countries around the world.

[i] India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative Collaborators. Nations within a nation: variations in epidemiological transition across the states of India, 1990-2016 in the Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet. 2017; 390(10111):2437–60.

[ii] World Health Organization. Global Action Plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013–2020. 2012. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/94384/9789241506236_eng.pdf;jsessionid=52E1B3C677527E0D4DB828DDB046B5A3?sequence=1.

[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_India  Accessed April 2021.