Award-Winning Young Health Programme expands to 18 new communities in Kenya


A collaboration between AstraZeneca ( and Plan International Kenya to address non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention among young people; The Programme will operate in Nairobi inclusive of 5 villages in Kibera and 13 villages in Mathare; The Programme builds on five years of successful implementation and results in Kibera, Nairobi between 2016 and 2020.

Today, Plan International Kenya and AstraZeneca are pleased to announce the five-year renewal of the Young Health Programme Kenya, a global community investment initiative from AstraZeneca, focusing on young people and prevention of the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.

In Kenya, young people between 10 and 24 account for over 33% of the total population [1], providing the country with a considerable socio-economic development opportunity. The period of adolescence is pivotal in reducing NCDs and maximizing health across all stages of life.

“We are very excited to build on five years of successful implementation in Kenya and expand our reach to 18 new areas, the remaining villages in Kibera and into the new area of Mathare,” says Kate Maina-Vorley, Country Director, Plan International Kenya. “Having successfully worked closely with the Nairobi County and National Government to support policies and guidelines on NCD prevention, and reached over 82,000 young people and 267,000 members of the wider community over the past five years, we are looking forward to continuing this vital work focusing on NCD prevention. Our recent external evaluation illustrated incredible results, including for instance that the number of young people using tobacco declined more than 40%, from 47.2% at baseline to 5.9% at the final evaluation. Combining our programme to empower young people to make healthier life choices, with the present significant political will to address the challenge, we hope to continue to have a huge impact on long-term health outcomes.”

The Young Health Programme addresses the primary NCD risk factors of tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and air pollution, as well as supporting the broader health and well-being of young people.

According to the World Health Organisation country profile of 2018, NCDs in Kenya are estimated to account for 27% of total deaths and 13% of premature deaths, with cardiovascular diseases and cancers being the leading cause of death, accounting for 8% and 10% respectively [2]. The Kenya 2015 STEPS survey revealed that 94% of Kenyans aged 18-69 are consuming less than the WHO-recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day [3], an alarming statistic that may compromise their current and future health.

Nancy, a 23 year old peer educator from Kibera said, “The programme built my capacity in different ways. At an individual level, I have become knowledgeable about the risk that can lead to NCDs and have learnt so much about NCDs compared to before joining the programme. At the community level, I have raised awareness about NCD prevention among young people. Most of them have taken it positively and as a result, have reduced the practices, especially those who were harmfully using alcohol.”

The Young Health Programme Kenya is a five-year programme that aims to contribute to the improved health and wellbeing of young people between 10-24 years of age in five villages in Kibera that were not reached through the 2016-2020 programme, and all thirteen villages in Mathare. Specifically, it aims to ensure that young people in Nairobi have increased knowledge about risk factors and NCD prevention, which gives them greater capacity to make informed decisions about their health, in the context of improved health services, an enabling support system and policy environment.

The Young Health Programme Kenya hopes to directly reach more than 88,000 young people with health information and NCD prevention programming. Indirectly, it is expected to reach an additional 400,000 young people and 196,000 members of the wider community through campaigns, events and awareness raising activities.

Globally, the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme has reached more than 5 million young people in 30 countries since it was launched in 2010.  

“Since the Young Health Programme launched in Kenya in 2016, I have seen the peer educators in action, and have been inspired by their desire to become champions for other youth in their communities to live healthier lives. The impact this can have shines through in the achievements of the programme to date and we are delighted to continue our commitment to adolescent health in Kenya,” said Dr Kennedy Njau, Government Affairs Director, Sub Saharan Africa, AstraZeneca.

For more information about the Young Health Programme, please go to the website:

Expansion launch event 26 May 2021 on YouTube: YouTube Link (




Distributed by APO Group on behalf of AstraZeneca.

About the Young Health Programme:
AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) is a global programme with a unique focus on young people age 10 to 24 and prevention of the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cancer, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and mental ill health. Delivered in partnership with Plan International and UNICEF and informed by research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, YHP aims to support the development of protective environments and empower young people to make informed choices about their health.  YHP is part of our sustainability commitment to use our capabilities to make the most meaningful impact where society needs it – health.

The Young Health Programme:  Better health choices, brighter life chances.

About Plan International:
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We strive for a just world, working with children, young people, our supporters and partners. Plan International has been building powerful partnerships for children, adolescents and youth for more than 80 years, and is active in over 75 countries across the world.

Plan International has been operating in Kenya since 1982 and to-date continues to work in 10 counties: Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Tharaka Nithi, Siaya, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Homabay and Kisumu. 

About AstraZeneca:
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

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