Posted On: Wed 19 Feb 2020 By TCR NEWS | PUNCH NG
Nigeria has ranked 174th out of the 180 countries that were compared on indices of child health and overall well-being.
The report, released on Wednesday by a Commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world, revealed a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing, including measures of child survival and well-being, such as health, education, and nutrition; sustainability, with a proxy for greenhouse gas emissions, and equity, or income gaps.
The Commission was convened by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and The Lancet.
In the report, Nigeria competed for the bottom place with countries such as Afghanistan (171); Sierra Leone (172); South Sudan (173); and Guinea (175).
Others are Mali (176); Niger (177); Somalia (178); Chad (179); and Central African Republic (180).
The report noted that, despite dramatic improvements in survival, nutrition, and education over recent decades, today’s children face an uncertain future.
“Climate change, ecological degradation, migrating populations, conflict, pervasive inequalities, and predatory commercial practices threaten the health and future of children in every country,” the report states.
It noted that, in 2015, the world’s countries agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals, lamenting that nearly five years later, few countries have recorded much progress towards achieving them.
“This Commission presents the case for placing children, aged 0–18 years, at the centre of the SDGs: at the heart of the concept of sustainability and our shared human endeavour.
“Governments must harness coalitions across sectors to overcome ecological and commercial pressures to ensure children receive their rights and entitlements now and a liveable planet in the years to come,” the report admonished.
The report declared that no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.
Titled, ‘A Future for the World’s Children?’ the report finds that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practises that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.
“It has been estimated that around 250 million children under five years old in low- and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty. But of even greater concern, every child worldwide now faces existential threats from climate change and commercial pressures.
“Countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future,” Clark added.
In response, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “This report shows that the world’s decision makers are, too often, failing today’s children and youth: failing to protect their health, failing to protect their rights, and failing to protect their planet.”
Continuing, he said, “This must be a wake-up call for countries to invest in child health and development, ensure their voices are heard, protect their rights, and build a future that is fit for children.”
Also reacting to the report, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Claes Johansson, said, “This demonstrates how far we still need to go in Nigeria to ensure children can live healthy lives in an environment where they can thrive.
“We know that investing in the future of our children, giving them an education and making sure they are healthy and receive the right nutrition, work to provide a better future for everyone.
“We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the health and future of every Nigerian child.”
Co-chair of the Commission, Minister Awa Coll-Seck from Senegal, noted, “More than two billion people live in countries where development is hampered by humanitarian crises, conflicts, and natural disasters, problems increasingly linked with climate change.
“While some of the poorest countries are listed among those with the lowest carbon dioxide emissions, many are exposed to the harshest impacts of a rapidly changing climate.”
“Promoting better conditions today for children to survive and thrive nationally does not have to come at the cost of eroding children’s futures globally,” Coll-Seck added.