Combining services to improve the lives of vulnerable teenagers with HIV
Professor Lucie Cluver
A new study has shown how combining key services in lower- and middle- income countries can contribute to improving the lives of vulnerable populations, including children and adolescents.
It is the first paper to be published by researchers at the Accelerating Achievement in Africa’s Adolescents Hub, supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
It is the first study to test the United Nation’s concepts of ‘accelerators’: provisions that can improve the lives of vulnerable populations in not only one Sustainable Development Goal, but many. It finds clear evidence for the effectiveness of ‘accelerators’, even amongst an exceptionally high-risk group: adolescents living with HIV in South Africa and goes further to find that simple combinations of accelerators - such as parenting support, cash transfers and safe schools - provide even greater impacts.
The study, published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, was led by Professor Lucie Cluver at the University of Oxford, with the universities of Cape Town and Witwatersrand in South Africa, UCL and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Adolescents in Sierra Leone. Copyright: Inge Wessels
Professor Cluver said: “This new evidence is a step forward in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Even for one of Africa’s most vulnerable groups - adolescents living with HIV and AIDS - the right combinations of programmes can help.
“By providing social welfare grants, safe schools and supportive parenting for these highest-risk teens, we can make substantial positive impacts across health, education, gender equality and violence prevention. We are delighted to be working with UNDP, UNICEF and other agencies to use these new findings in their work with governments across Africa.”
The Accelerating Achievement in Africa’s Adolescents Hub is one of 12 GCRF Hubs announced by UKRI with a £200 million investment. Over the next five years the Interdisciplinary Research Hubs (PDF, 2.4MB) will work across 85 countries with governments, international agencies, partners and NGOs on the ground in developing countries and around the globe, to develop creative and sustainable solutions which help make the world, and the UK, safer, healthier and more prosperous.
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