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Addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the Pacific

Adolescents make up a significant and growing proportion of the population in the Pacific. These young people are just entering their sexual and reproductive years, with the majority reporting onset of sexual activity during this age. Many adolescents ill-prepared for this transition, lacking adequate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health with poor access to comprehensive information and services.

This cohort of young people presents a powerful opportunity to improve health and development outcomes for Myanmar: investing in adolescent health not only ensures the health and wellbeing of the current generation of young people, but also lays the foundation for future adult health, and the health of the next generation.

Key to realising this ‘triple dividend’ is understanding the priority health needs of adolescents to inform effective investments.

To date, the needs of adolescents in Myanmar had not been systematically described, representing a major knowledge gap and a barrier to developing responsive policies and programs.

2009 – 2019

In 2012, Burnet commenced a community-based randomised controlled trial to evaluate a peer-led intervention to address adolescent pregnancy in Vanuatu. Conducted in partnership with Wan Smolbag, this study has also examined the context of early pregnancy, experiences of sexual violence, and improved understanding of unsafe abortion practices.



  • "These issues aren't talked about at home": a qualitative study of the sexual and reproductive health information preferences of adolescents in Vanuatu.
    Kennedy EC, Bulu S, Harris J, Humphreys D, Malverus J, Gray NJ
    BMC Public Health. 2014 Jul; 14:770


  •  "Be kind to young people so they feel at home": a qualitative study of adolescents' and service providers' perceptions of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services in Vanuatu.
    Kennedy EC, Bulu S, Harris J, Humphreys D, Malverus J, Gray NJ
    BMC Health Serv Res. 2013 Oct; 13:455


  • Improving adolescent reproductive: the importance of quality data.
    Kennedy E, Grey N, Azzopardi P, Crea1 M
    Pac Health Dialog. 2012 Apr; 18(1):140-141


  • Adolescent fertility and family planning in East Asia and the Pacific: a review of DHS reports.
    Kennedy E, Gray N, Azzopardi P, Crea1 M
    Reprod Health. 2011 May; 8:11
Elissa Kennedy

Doctor Elissa Kennedy

Contact Doctor Elissa Kennedy for more information about the Addressing adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the Pacific project.


Funding Partners

  • Supported by the Australian Government

Partners + Collaborators

  • Wan Smolbag Theatre, Vanuatu