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PURPOSE: The World Health Organization (WHO) undertook an extensive and elaborate process to develop eight Global Standards to improve quality of health care services for adolescents. The objectives of this article are to present the Global Standards and their method of development. METHODS: The Global Standards were developed through a four-stage process: (1) conducting needs assessment; (2) developing the Global Standards and their criteria; (3) expert consultations; and (4) assessing their usability. Needs assessment involved conducting a meta-review of systematic reviews and two online global surveys in 2013, one with primary health care providers and another with adolescents. The Global Standards were developed based on the needs assessment in conjunction with analysis of 26 national standards from 25 countries. The final document was reviewed by experts from the World Health Organization regional and country offices, governments, academia, nongovernmental organizations, and development partners. The standards were subsequently tested in Benin and in a regional expert consultation of Latin America and Caribbean countries for their usability. RESULTS: The process resulted in the development of eight Global Standards and 79 criteria for measuring them: (1) adolescents' health literacy; (2) community support; (3) appropriate package of services; (4) providers' competencies; (5) facility characteristics; (6) equity and nondiscrimination; (7) data and quality improvement; and (8) adolescents' participation. CONCLUSIONS: The eight standards are intended to act as benchmarks against which quality of health care provided to adolescents could be compared. Health care services can use the standards as part of their internal quality assurance mechanisms or as part of an external accreditation process.

Original publication




Journal article


J Adolesc Health

Publication Date





288 - 298


Adolescents, Global standards, Health care, Quality of care, Adolescent, Adolescent Health, Benchmarking, Clinical Competence, Global Health, Health Facilities, Health Literacy, Healthcare Disparities, Humans, Patient Participation, Quality Improvement, Quality of Health Care, Residence Characteristics, World Health Organization