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About 50 million Children in the world are either Refugees, Migrants or Internally displaced, says UNICEF Report

Children are especially vulnerable to sex traffickers, criminal gangs and human smugglers when they are on the move

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Representational Image UNICEF For Children. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
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he U.N. Children’s agency warns that the smallest people are often the biggest victims in the global refugee and migration crisis.

“There are nearly 50 million children in the world that are either refugees, migrants or internally displaced,” Unicef Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth told reporters at a briefing on the new report.

He said of that number, 28 million children have fled violence or conflict. “That is a near doubling of child refugees in the last decade. It is a tripling of the numbers of unaccompanied children,” he said. “It’s a growing crisis; it’s a children’s crisis.”

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Children are especially vulnerable to sex traffickers, criminal gangs and human smugglers when they are on the move.

Last year, almost half of all registered refugee children came from just two countries – Syria and Afghanistan. But this crisis affects children from all parts of the world, including Central America, Asia and Africa.

The report notes that when and if children reach destination countries, the threats they face often do not disappear, leaving them in continuing need of assistance and protection.

UN summit

Later this month, as world leaders gather in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly, there will be two separate summits on migration and refugees.

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host the first meeting and U.S. President Barack Obama the second one.

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UNICEF’s Forsyth said he hopes the summits will result in clear commitments and practical measures for children in these circumstances, including on how to keep families together and making sure displaced children have access to health care and education.

The UNICEF report calls for addressing the root causes of migration and refugees, mainly conflict, violence and extreme poverty. It also urges measures to prevent xenophobia and discrimination against refugees, in addition to measures to prevent exploitation and abuse of children on the move. (VOA)

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Frequency of Brain Tumours Increase in Children With Common Genetic Syndrome

Applying the new criteria to MRI scans will help physicians identify probable tumours.

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Brain tumours may occur in children with common genetic syndrome
Brain tumours may occur in children with common genetic syndrome, Pixabya

Parents, please take note. The frequency of brain tumours has been underestimated in children with the common genetic syndrome — neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a new study has found.

According to the researchers, this disorder is characterised by birthmarks on the skin and benign nerve tumours that develop in or on the skin. Brain tumours are also known to occur in children and adults with NF1.

They estimated that only 15-20 per cent of kids with NF1 develop brain tumours. But the study, published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice, found that the frequency of brain tumours in this population was more than three times higher.

brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern
Brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern. Wikimedia Commons

“I’m not delivering the message anymore that brain tumours are rare in NF1. This study has changed how I decide which children need more surveillance and when to let the neuro-oncologists know that we may have a problem,” said senior author David H. Gutmann from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of children with NF1 characteristically show bright spots that are absent in the scans of unaffected children. Unlike tumours, they are generally thought to disappear in teenage years, the researchers said.

Since brain tumours can be confused with harmless bright spots, it has never been clear whether finding these abnormalities via MRI should be a cause for concern, they added.

Representation of a Brain Tumour. Flickr
Representation of a Brain Tumor. Flickr

For the study, the team developed a set of criteria to distinguish tumours from other bright spots. The researchers then analysed scans from 68 NF1 patients and 46 children without NF1 for comparison.

Also Read: Taking Care of Mental Health Problems in Children, may Boost Parent’s Mental Health Too 

All but four (94 per cent) of the children with NF1 had bright spots, and none of the children without NF1 did. Further, in 57 per cent of the children with bright spots, at least one of the spots was deemed likely to be a tumour, the research team found.

Applying the new criteria to MRI scans will help physicians identify probable tumours, but that does not mean that all children with NF1 should be scanned regularly, the researchers cautioned. (IANS)