No country does enough to help children flourish, say health experts
Although the world’s survival depends on children being able to flourish, dozens of respected international health experts said on Wednesday that no country is doing enough to position them for a sustainable future.
In a UN-backed report assessing the capacity of 180 countries to ensure that their youngsters can survive and thrive, the authors highlight numerous “immediate” threats to their health, environment and opportunities.
These include runaway greenhouse gas emissions, predatory advertising and deepening inequality in and among countries.
According to Anthony Costello, Professor of Global Health and Sustainability at University College London, one of the lead authors of the report, “No country in the world is currently providing the conditions we need to support every child to grow up and have a healthy future”.
The report was commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and The Lancet medical journal.
Nigerien children, families in crosshairs of humanitarian need – UNICEF
Meanwhile, simultaneous emergencies in Niger have put nearly three million people, more than half children, in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Wednesday, calling for increased attention to their plight.
Amidst malnutrition, disease epidemics, cyclical floods, droughts and displacement, the capacities of humanitarian partners to respond are being stretched in multiple directions.
And the situation is exacerbated by regional instability, which has led to an influx of thousands of refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and migrants – all in need of basic social services and protection.
In already fragile host communities, UNICEF Representative Félicité Tchibindat warned that “the burden of forced displacement increases the vulnerability of children and communities and significantly affects their health, protection, nutrition and education”.
She called upon national and international partners “to protect and further promote social investments that transform children's lives".
HIV in the time of coronavirus
And finally, UNAIDS, the UN agency dedicated to tackling the virus, and China are working together during the coronavirus outbreak, known as COVID-19, to ensure that people living with HIV continue to get treatment.
According to a recent survey, because of lockdowns and movement restrictions in some areas of China, nearly one-third of people living with HIV reported that they risked running out of their HIV treatment in the coming days – with almost half saying that they did not know where to collect their next antiretroviral therapy refill.
However, a close partnership between the Government and community partners is determined to ensure that access to life-saving HIV treatment is not interrupted as the country fights to get COVID-19 under control.
According to UNAIDS, the Chinese National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention has directed local authorities to ensure that non-resident people living with HIV can collect their medication wherever they are and has published and disseminated lists of antiretroviral therapy clinics.
UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima applauded the efforts of the Chinese National Center in supporting the people affected by the lockdowns to get their medicines, saying “we must ensure that everyone who needs HIV treatment gets it, no matter where they are”.