Developing systematic approach to adolescent health
On March 28, 2018, the Adolescent Health Working Group discussed key aspects for "Promoting the integration of adolescent-oriented services within the primary care system in line with the current health care reform in Ukraine".
Many adolescents deal with diverse problems that often require qualified help: visits to family doctor, psychologist or gynecologist. At the same time, most of these young people feel insecure and shy, which makes it difficult for them to see a specialist. There are some youth friendly clinics in the country, but still, not every adolescent can easily seek professional assistance.
The key objective of this meeting was to make primary care accessible to adolescents. The participants agreed that the focus of joint efforts should shift to ensuring the confidentiality of services rendered. This will contribute to increasing overall confidence in healthcare and building trust to medical staff. Relevant legislation also requires changes.
Prevention of adolescent health issues, rather than dealing with the consequences, is the main purpose of this transformation.
Pilot projects have already started in Lviv and Poltava. The aim of these activities is to help healthcare professionals learn to effectively communicate with adolescents and look for particular indicators of different health problems during examination, depending on the situation of the individual child. Positive and preventive health conversations should form the basis for adolescent primary care improvement.
The working group defined the three following priority tasks for implementing the systematic approach to adolescent care improvement:
- development of the patient health questionnaire for adolescents, which should provide primary care professionals with more complete records and help doctors determine whether there is a problem, and if so, identify its type (reproductive or mental health, bad habits or addictions, etc.).
- development of the procedure (guide) for referring an adolescent patient to specialists, when specialized care is recommended.
- development of a pilot project for primary care doctors aimed at testing the patient health questionnaire for adolescents, the referral procedure, and further improvement of these documents.
The MoH team sincerely appreciates the valuable support and assistance provided by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health (UFPH). We would also like to invite all those interested to work together on the important healthcare issues.