Quality sexual and reproductive health care is an essential component of public health. However, there are insufficient evidence-based policies related to adolescent sexual and reproductive health in low- and middle-income countries. In an effort to address the research gap, faculty from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health led a project to identify research priorities for adolescent sexual and reproductive health in these countries. The results, which are based on input from nearly 300 experts and highlight key focus areas, are featured in the January issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
"Despite the commitment of many governments to address the health problems commonly affecting adolescents, little evidence has been generated on whether or not such commitments have made a difference," said Michelle Hindin, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.
To conduct the study, Hindin and colleagues modified the priority-setting method of the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative to solicit input from nearly 300 experts--researchers, health program managers and donors representing a range of expertise in adolescent sexual and reproductive health from all developing country regions. During a rigorous three-phase process, the team asked the experts to rank health outcome areas in order of importance, formulate research questions within each area and rank the formulated questions in order of priority.