As we mark the 200th anniversary of The Lancet in 2023, we are using this opportunity to draw attention to health issues that we see as critical priorities (“Spotlights”) for the present century.

One of the five Spotlights is on child and adolescent health, which has the following key asks. 1) Children must be immediately prioritised in health and social policies—children and young people deserve attention in their own right, and not only because they are an indispensable foundation for a sustainable future. 2) Governments and health providers should prioritise health equity for children and young people, within and between countries.

Our advocacy work would not be complete without young people’s perspectives and lived experiences. We thank The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health‘s Youth Advisory Panel for their ideas and contributions towards the Spotlight’s work, and the young people who were involved in our podcasts and webinar. Now, we would like to widen the participation and invite young people worldwide to share with us what the two asks above mean to you.
In your view, what are the key issues in health facing children and young people now? What issues are important to you and your peers, but neglected by those in positions of power? Are young people’s priorities and voices reflected in your country’s health and social policies, whether at the local level or national level? Are there particular groups of young people who are overlooked, and what can be done to advance equity? We would also love to hear about examples and reflections of adolescent participation in decision making and civic engagement done in a respectful and meaningful way—what are the key ingredients of success, and how can the experience improve further? What resources do young people need in their leadership efforts in order to be included in decision-making processes on a national and global level? What can be done to ensure meaningful engagement from diverse backgrounds and to address the barriers to inclusive participation?
The essays should be truthful, thought provoking, and original. They should not have been previously published, including on social media, and should not contain any information that might identify other individuals. Anyone aged 18–25 years can submit an essay, and we will also consider contributions from those a little over this age range; each essay can have up to five authors. The length of the essay should be 1000–1500 words, with no references. In addition to English, essays can also be written in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and Portuguese, which will be considered for publication by the relevant titles of The Lancet Regional Health initiative. At least two Lancet editors will assess the essays for originality, independence of thought, and prose, and we might consult our Youth Advisory Panel or editorial board members for additional input on local or contextual knowledge.
We will consider the essays on a rolling basis from now until Nov 1, 2023. Please send your essay to, stating in your email that the submission is in response to this call. We look forward to reading your essays.
We declare no competing interests.

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