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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - International journal for equity in health
Title Facilitating health and wellbeing is"" everybody's role"": youth perspectives from Vanuatu on health and the post-2015 sustainable development goal agenda
Volume 13
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 80
URL http://equityhealthj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12939-014-0080-8
Progress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) amongst Pacific island countries (PICs) has seen mixed results. As focus shifts to formulation of new health-related development goals beyond 2015, there is a need for bringing community consultation into this process. For this purpose, Go4Health is a global consortium examining the development of these goals, with Work Package 2 capturing viewpoints of marginalised populations regarding health. This paper examines the perspectives of youth in Vanuatu on essential health needs in the context of the post-2015 development agenda, to make these concerns more visible for their communities, stakeholders and health policy decision makers.

As part of a larger investigation undertaken in Vanuatu involving 100 residents from various rural and urban communities, this paper explores the perspectives of twenty 17-year old secondary school students gathered through two focus group discussions during September 2013. Questions sought viewpoints across areas including health ideals, essential needs, responsibility for health services and their governance. Focus group discussions were conducted in English and digitally recorded, with resulting transcripts subjected to thematic analysis.

This youth cohort from Vanuatu had a strong understanding of the social determinants of health. They placed value on all aspects of health, indicating the need for youth to have access to positive lifestyle opportunities (sport, community participation) and also increased protection from the impact of harmful substances and causes of chronic illness. Participants identified barriers to health due to unevenly distributed health services throughout Vanuatu, with members at all levels of society ultimately perceived as responsible for improving health throughout the nation.

Against a background of a weak health system and significant challenges to public health, young people are acutely aware that improving Vanuatu's health status requires a communal effort. While contributing factors to health depend on actions taken at individual, local, national and global levels, no single actor currently provides enough support to cover all essential health needs. As a consequence, they see health in the Pacific as "everybody's role", of importance for the post-2015 sustainable development goal agenda and health policy makers in general.

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