Adolescent health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health in Ethiopia

Research reports and studies
May 2019
Nicola Jones, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall, Sarah Baird, Joan Hicks, Nardos Chuta and Kiya Gezahegne

The policy note and report on adolescent health, nutrition and SRH in Ethiopia is one of a series of short reports presenting findings from baseline mixed-methods research as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal study (2015–2024). 

In Ethiopia, our research sample involves a survey with more than 6,800 adolescent girls and boys from two cohorts aged 10–12 years (younger adolescents) and 15–17 years (older adolescents), and more in-depth qualitative research with 240 adolescents and their families. The baseline data was collected in selected sites in Afar, Amhara and Oromia regional states and Dire Dawa city administration during 2017 and 2018.

We focus on adolescents’ perceptions of their health, nutrition and SRH and experiences of accessing related services, paying particular attention to gender and regional differences, as well as differences between adolescents with disabilities and those without.

Ethiopia’s current generation of adolescents are comparatively advantaged over previous generations. Food security is improving, childhood mortality and morbidity are declining, and adolescent fertility is dropping due to declines in child marriage and better access to contraception.

However, our findings highlight significant scope for improvements in adolescent health and nutrition, including the need to address gender, regional and disability-related inequities in access to age-tailored information, services and support. There is also an urgent need to address adolescents’ exposure to HIV (which appears to be on the rise), climate change-related health and nutritional vulnerabilities, and growing risks of substance abuse, especially in urban areas.