Securing healthy futures for women, children, and adolescents

Women, children of all ages, and adolescents are some of the most at-risk groups in the world. Approximately 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth – that’s about one woman every two minutes – and the majority live in low- and middle-income countries.

When mothers pass away during childbirth or do not have access to quality care before, during, and after delivery, the health of their children is put at risk. Childbirth-related complications are also the leading cause of death worldwide among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19. Improving access to family planning information and resources can help minimize high-risk pregnancies and educate women and young girls about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, good nutrition, and birth spacing, leading to healthier communities.

Our Approach

At RTI, we take a “whole system” approach to co-designing and co-implementing programs with local partners that provide marginalized and disadvantaged people timely access to quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health services in an integrated fashion. We build local capacity across the continuum of care to ensure accountability, promote stakeholder ownership, and advocate for health care that is affordable, accessible, and reliable. We believe in the power of evidence-based solutions and continuous learning and adapting, and we work to accelerate health gains for women, children, and adolescents by applying our clinical, biomedical, social, and behavioral research and expertise.

We work alongside local stakeholders to improve outcomes for maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health by

Strengthening policies, services, and systems that increase access to critical life-saving care and high-impact comprehensive services, including family planning and maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition
Increasing health-seeking behaviors at the household and patient levels through behavior change communication
Building the capacity of government, civil society, the private sector, and health providers to provide quality care
Preventing and controlling infectious diseases, including malaria, neglected tropical diseases, Ebola, Zika, and HIV
Leveraging multisectoral expertise in early childhood development, food security, nutrition, and noncommunicable diseases to ensure that at-risk communities not only survive but thrive
Developing innovative technologies and tools that provide governments and policy makers with data for decision-making

Our Work With Adolescents

Adolescents have distinct health needs while they undergo rapid physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual development. However, they often face barriers like stigma and discrimination that prevent them from accessing essential health services, ranging from sexual and reproductive health to mental health to nutrition and noncommunicable diseases. Learn below how we work to create comprehensive approaches for addressing these barriers so that adolescents can become healthy, productive, and engaged adults.

Preventing and Reducing Overweight and Obesity Among Children and Adolescents

Recent work by RTI’s Center for Global Noncommunicable Diseases quantified the current and future health and economic costs of obesity in a range of countries, with the aim of highlighting the urgent need for action. With funding from UNICEF, we are developing and piloting a novel investment case methodology focused on child and adolescent overweight and obesity. 

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A young girl receives a vaccine shot from a doctor in India.

India’s Journey to Rolling Out the HPV vaccine

Cervical cancer is highly preventable. But despite this, across the globe, someone dies every 2 minutes from the disease. Dr. Ishu Kataria, a senior public health researcher at RTI, is one of the people trying to change that.

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Reducing Facility-Based Stigma and Discrimination Against Adolescents

While policies and programs for youth-friendly health services have significantly increased over the last decade, adolescents still face significant barriers when it comes to their health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. At RTI, we are striving to address one of the many barriers that adolescents face in seeking care at health facilities: facility-based stigma and discrimination.

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Workers from the ReachHealth program interview a group of teenage mothers in the Philippines.

Strengthening and Improving Access to Critical Health Services for Filipino Families

As the second largest country in Southeast Asia, the Philippines maintains the highest fertility rate in the region and the second highest rate of teenage pregnancy and poor health outcomes for newborns. In order to address these challenges, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the ReachHealth project.

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The Promise of School Based Interventions for Adolescent Mental Health Promotion

There is a huge need to address poor mental health among adolescents. An estimated 80% of adolescents in need of mental health services do not receive care, although the true number is likely higher in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

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A teenage girl from rural India smiles at the camera.

What is the Role of Peer Education in Improving Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health in India?

There are 253 million adolescents living in India – the largest share of adolescents in the world. Child marriages and early childbearing are common in the country, with one in four adolescent girls married before turning 18 and most giving birth before completing adolescence, resulting in poor health outcomes for both the mother and children.

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A teenage girl from Africa smiles at the camera.

Shining a Spotlight on Adolescent Mental Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Globally, over 250 million adolescents and young people (10-24 years) have a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Emerging evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting control measures, have only worsened the already significant burden of mental health disorders among adolescents.

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A teen mother and her children in the Philippines.

We Cannot Leave Adolescents Behind on the Path to Health for All

More than half of the world’s population is younger than 30 and faces unique challenges. While other age groups have seen enormous strides and improvements in health outcomes, youth mortality has only marginally improved in the past 50 years.

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Three girls in India wearing matching light blue outfits and smiling for the camera.

Moving the Needle to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Despite encouraging evidence on the safety and efficacy of HPV vaccines in preventing HPV-related disease, particularly cervical cancer, scaling up the introduction of HPV vaccination in national immunization programs is a major challenge, particularly in LMICs.

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