The world is not protecting adequately the health of children and their future, according to a landmark report released by the Commission under the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and The Lancet.
The report – “A Future for the World’s Children?” notes that health of every child and their future is under threat from ecological degradation and climate change. Despite the world seeing improvements in child health in the past 20 years, the progress has been stalled, former New Zealand Prime Minister and Co-Chair of the Commission Helen Clark said. She said around 250 million children below five years in low and middle income countries are at a higher risk of not reaching their developmental potential. This is basically related to poverty and stunting, she added.
The report said that the poor countries should take more steps to support the children’s ability to have a healthy living. It warned of disastrous consequences on the children’s health said if global warming exceeded 4° C by 2100. The rise in temperature may lead to rise in heat waves, ocean levels. All these could lead to an increase of diseases such as dengue and malaria.
Children in the Republic of Korea, Norway, and Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, the report said. Meanwhile, children in Chad, Central African Republic, Somalia, Mali and Niger are the worst hit.
Helen Clark said that the countries should overhaul their approach to ensure the children lead a better life. Commission co-chair Awa Coll-Seck noted that about two billion people live in nations where development is prevented by humanitarian conflicts and natural disasters.
The report said that a new global movement is needed for protecting the future of children. It has urged countries to stop CO2 emissions, place children at the centre to achieve sustainable development, evolve new policies and make investment in all sectors and incorporate children’s voices into policy decisions.