Project Brief

Reaching adolescents with health services: a multi-country study of adolescent health check-ups in low- and middle-income countries (Y-Check)

What is Y-Check?

The ‘Reaching adolescents with health services’ project also known as Y-Check, is a multi-country study of adolescent health check-ups in low- and middle-income countries which seeks to develop and evaluate, in three urban contexts in three Low and Middle-Income Country (LMIC) settings (Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe; Mwanza, Tanzania; and Cape Coast, Ghana), an intervention programme to screen and treat/refer adolescents for a range of common conditions using routine health check-ups undertaken at two time points; the first between the ages of 10 to 14 years, and the second between the ages of 15 to 19 years.

What are the project goals?

The Y-Check Project is being undertaken because in LMICs, many young people pass through adolescence without receiving preventive or promotive health services. Those who do attend health services, often do so late due to multiple barriers, including a lack of money for transport or for health service payments, needing permission from an adult or reticence to disclose health concerns to health workers. A potential solution to increasing utilisation of health services among young people is introducing routine health check-ups. Whilst this appears sensible, the evidence on the effectiveness of routine adolescent health check-ups (universal, routine screening and preventive contacts with a health worker) is lacking, especially in LMICs, and it is not clear what the content, frequency and best delivery channels should be. This is an important gap as the World Health Organization (WHO) does not have any formal guidelines on whether countries should promote routine health check-ups for adolescents in LMICs. Y-Check aims to fill this important gap by providing evidence regarding the usefulness of routine adolescent health check-ups services in LMICs, and if so, how many health check-ups should be offered across adolescence between the ages (10-14 yrs) and (15- 19 yrs), at what age(s), what should be the content at each of these check-ups, where should they be conducted and who should conduct them?

How will the goals be achieved?

This programme of work will be implemented in two phases. Phase 1 (12-months), will consist of formative research in three African cities (Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe; Mwanza, Tanzania; Cape Coast, Ghana) with inputs from adolescents, parents, and other stakeholders, to define the content and delivery strategies for health check-ups in young (10-14 yrs) and older (15-19 yrs) adolescents.  In Phase 2, (48 months) of the research, the content and delivery mechanics of Y-Check developed in Phase 1 will be evaluated for effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

What is the programme deliverable?

The main deliverables in phase 1 include: 1) the co-created Y-Check prototype; and 2) detailed proposal and protocol for the evaluation of the intervention in phase 2. The key deliverable in phase 2 is empirical evidence on the effectiveness, costs and cost-effectiveness of a routine health check-ups intervention for young adolescents (10-14 yrs) and older adolescents (15-19 yrs) in LMIC settings. Based on this evidence, WHO will lead the development of guidelines for implementing routine health check-ups in member countries.

What is the duration of the Programme?

Phase 1 will span 12 months and is expected to end by 31st October 2020. Phase 2 will span 48 months and is expected to commence in 2021, pending funding confirmation.


Who is involved?

The Y-Check Project in Ghana is led by Dr. Benedict Weobong (consortium PI), Dr. Franklin Glozah (Co-I) and Prof. Philip Adongo (Co-I), all from School of Public Health, University of Ghana (SPH-UG). Members of the research team include: Dr. Eric Koka, Dr. Hannah Benedicta Taylor-Abdulai, Ms. Nancy Addae, all from UCC, and Mr. Stanley Kofi Alor-SPH-UG. The overall PI is Prof. David Anthony Ross from WHO. Two other African countries; Tanzania and Zimbabwe are involved.  


Who to contact for further information:

Benedict Weobong (PhD)

School of Public Health

College of Health Sciences

University of Ghana, Legon.