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AstraZeneca to partner with UNICEF to help prevent non-communicable diseases among five million young people worldwide

AstraZeneca to partner with UNICEF to help prevent non-communicable diseases among five million young people worldwide

AstraZeneca South Africa (www.AstraZeneca.com) announced today that it will work with UNICEF South Africa through its philanthropic Young Health Programme, as part of a new global partnership. The aim is to reach 30,000 adolescents and youth across the country with messaging on how to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs), to identify young leaders who can advocate on the issue, promoting healthy diets and physical activity, and to generate evidence that can inform national policies and plans. 

The South Africa targets will contribute to the global goal to reach more than five million young people with NCD prevention messages, train 1,000 youth advocates, and positively shape public policy around the world, over the next five years.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies NCDs as the number one cause of death worldwide1 and 70% of premature deaths from NCDs can be linked back to behaviours that first appear in adolescence2.

The partnership will combine UNICEF’s experience supporting young people in 190 countries with the Young Health Programme’s award-winning programming focused on working with youth to reduce risk behaviours associated with NCDs. The partnership also includes a direct work with governments, policymakers and young people to address the rising burden of NCDs. The programme will launch initially across six accelerator countries, including Angola, Belize, Brazil, Jamaica, Indonesia and South Africa, and then expand to other countries.

Barbara Nel, AstraZeneca Country President for African Cluster said: “It’s important not to lose sight of the staggering impact of non-communicable diseases on the future health of our society. We believe that engaging young people in this effort and empowering them as advocates is crucial for success, and we are delighted to be working with UNICEF. This partnership has the potential to exponentially extend the reach of this effort.”

“The health and development consequences of non-communicable diseases in South Africa are catastrophic,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF South Africa Representative. 

“This partnership with AstraZeneca is so important because with the right support, young people can change simple behaviours to lead healthier and more productive lives that will benefit themselves and society as a whole,” added Muhigana.

Now in its eleventh year, the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme has reached more than four million young people across 30 countries, through a focus on education, advocacy, research and mentorship. The programme seeks to raise awareness of and prevent the primary risk factors – tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and exposure to air pollution -  that contribute to NCDs such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancers and mental health conditions among young people and key decision-makers.


  1. https://bit.ly/31HfGPx
  2. WHO. Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2009.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of AstraZeneca.

The Young Health Programme:
The Young Health Programme (www.YoungHealthProgrammeYHP.com) is AstraZeneca’s philanthropic non-communicable disease prevention programme with a unique focus on young people age 10 to 24 in vulnerable and under-resourced areas around the world. The Young Health Programme is part of AstraZeneca’s sustainability commitment to use our capabilities to make the most meaningful impact where society needs it – health. 

Together with our partners, the Young Health Programme uses education, advocacy, research and mentorship to empower young people to make informed health choices and build more protective environments to help live longer and healthier lives.

The Young Health Programme: Better Health Choices, Brighter Life Chances. For more information please visit www.YoungHealthProgrammeYHP.com.

UNICEF (www.UNICEF.org) promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child. With our partners, we work in over 190 countries and territories to reach the most vulnerable children. UNICEF has had a presence in South Africa since the end of apartheid and is committed to improving the lives of every child.

About AstraZeneca:
AstraZeneca (www.AstraZeneca.com) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Please visit www.AstraZeneca.com and follow the Company on LinkedIn @AstraZeneca.

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