Adolescent Healthcare in Sri Lanka

The World Health Organization defines adolescence as an age group between 10 and 19 years and a period of rapid growth and development after childhood and before adulthood. Thus it is a period with unique biological and psycho social change, which leads to a cascade of actions involving transition, exploration and experimentation.

Our present health system is formulated in such a way that Paediatricians take care of children up to 12 years with a rapid handing over of these children into the hands of Adult Physicians which creates a huge amount of anxiety and other related problems.This is in contrary to the practice in most of the developed countries, which provide a more extended care by the Paediatricians with a well-established transitional care.

Sri Lanka college of Paediatricians has recommended the following to improve the adolescent health care in our country.

  • Introduction of the concept of transition clinics, to be jointly run by Paediatricians, Physicians, Gynaecologists and Psychiatrists (Multi Consultant Care Package)
  • Uplifting the quality of services rendered by existing community and hospital based adolescent clinics
  • Increasing the upper limit of admissions to Paediatric wards up to 16 years and establishment of the infrastructure with this regard.

It is important to plan workshops to train master trainers and also train other healthcare workers in view of promoting adolescent care.

The Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians organized a training of trainers’ workshop on adolescent care, in collaboration with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health from 5 th to 7 th May 2016 at Galle Face Hotel, in Colombo. Three eminent people from UK, Prof Russell Viner, Dr Fiona Straw and Dr William White were the resource team.

A group of forty people, who include Paediatricians, Gynaecologists, Psychiatrists and Community Physicians participated in this workshop which was a success.