With a growing population of youth in South Africa (over 19 million), there is a big need for more youth friendly services – services that do not alienate this important population group.
Adolescence and young adulthood are times of rapid physical and psychosocial change and development. They are stages in which parental influence decreases and the influence of peers and media increases. As a result, these stages are often associated with a rise in experimentation and exploration.
In addition, growing up in poverty creates an even bigger challenge for a large proportion of the country’s youth. In South Africa, the leading causes of death among young people differ by gender, race and income status. Currently, the burden of disease among low income communities is high, with tuberculosis (TB) and HIV emerging as the leading causes of death among all youth in the country, along with violence and traffic accidents for young men.
Improving the health and well-being of youth is crucial for their well-being today, and for their future economic productivity.