“Decisions about our health are made behind closed doors, where we are not allowed due to our young age,” says Narmin Guluzade, aged 24, from Azerbaijan. Young people from across the WHO European Region – from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan,
Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Türkiye – followed WHO/Europe’s call to raise their voices and share their views on youth engagement and health topics that matter to them.
The message is clear: young people want to be involved in decisions about their health and well-being – not in the future, but now. “Young people are not just the voices of the future but also of the present, so they need to be involved
now,” adds Katja Čič, 28, from Slovenia.
Many young people explained how the COVID-19 pandemic was a shock to their normal lives. For weeks and even months, schools and universities were closed. Young people were isolated from their friends and networks. “I have lost touch with
many of my friends during this period,” shares Hanga Venczel from Hungary. “Unfortunately, I have lost more family members during COVID,” she adds.
Youth in the Region
Over half of the world’s population today is under 30 years of age. In the WHO European Region, every third person is under 30. Although they represent diverse geographies and cultures, young people face many common challenges when it comes
to their health and well-being.
WHO/Europe is committed to amplifying and embedding their perspectives into all areas of its work. To do so, WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge kickstarted WHO/Europe’s youth initiative in 2021.