Sunday December 8, 2019

India Houses more than 30 Percent of Extremely Poor Children: Here is Why Poverty is the Deadliest Disease of all!

Poverty is a disease eating its way through this world and the ones most affected by it are children

Destitute children on the streets. Representational image. Wikimedia

November 10, 2016: The children of a nation are its future. But what happens when the children are not secure or their lives are not fulfilled with the basic necessities for a healthy survival?

Poverty is a disease eating its way through this world and the ones most affected by it are children. Poverty robs the people of their rights. These children fail to experience a good beginning in their lives and the stress of the poverty on them at such a young age leaves scar, which can last a lifetime. This leads to absence of basic skills that one needs to survive in the world today. This leads to a stunted growth in the economy as the full potential of the human population is never utilized.

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Comprehending the problem is a leap towards solving it. The children struck with poverty are affected in all spheres of their lives. The lack of proper nutrition or sanitation affects their health which is reflected in their education and lifestyle.

According to UNICEF, based on statistics from 89 countries comprising of about 84 percent of the developing parts of the world, 385 million children were members of critically poor households in 2013.

The Sub-Saharan Africa houses just under 49 per cent of the world’s extremely poor and just over 51 per cent of the world’s extremely poor children. South Asia comes right after it with around 35.7 percent, out of which approximately 30.3 percent belong to India.

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In 2013, 9.2 percent of adults were living in poverty in developing nations, whereas 19.5 percent of the children were living under similar conditions. The younger the children are, the more they are vulnerable to the consequences of poverty, as they need more nurturing and care than before.

81.4 per cent of the poor children belong to rural areas. This number is gigantic compared to the meagre 18.6 per cent residing in the urban areas.

“Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, malnutrition is rampant in India. Four out of 10 stunted children globally are Indian, more than in sub-Saharan Africa” says a Reuters report and according to UNICEF, about 50 per cent of children under the age of 5, around 54 million have a stunted development in India.

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Child labourer
Child labor in India. Wikimedia

Poverty leads the children into lives so dark we cannot begin to comprehend. They become victims of violence, trafficking, prostitution, child labor and many other forms of evil. In 2004-05, around 2.3 percent of the children, aged 5 to 14, had fallen prey to child labor in India and 2.4 percent in the urban areas during 2007-08.

Such poverty not only limits the possibilities for the current generation but also brings down the entire community the children live in. Investment in the early stages of the lives of the children can make a huge difference. Improving services for sanitation, schools, health care can improve the lifestyle of the children and help break the vicious cycle of poverty.

– by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker


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Measles Kills 140,000 people, WHO Calls it “Collective Failure”

WHO Decries 'Collective Failure' as Measles Kills 140,000

Measles- WHO
A child reacts after receiving a measles-rubella vaccination in Yangon, Myanmar. VOA

Measles infected nearly 10 million people in 2018 and killed 140,000, mostly children, as devastating outbreaks of the viral disease hit every region of the world, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

In figures described by its director general as “an outrage,” the WHO said most of last year’s measles deaths were in children under five years old who had not been vaccinated.

“The fact that any child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease like measles is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the world’s most vulnerable children,” said the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus.

The picture for 2019 is even worse, the WHO said, with provisional data up to November showing a three-fold increase compared with the same period in 2018.

The United States has already reported its highest number of measles cases in 25 years in 2019, while four countries in Europe — Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece and Britain — lost their WHO “measles-free” status in 2018 after suffering large outbreaks.

An ongoing outbreak of measles in South Pacific nation of Samoa has infected more than 4,200 people and killed more than 60, mostly babies and children, in a battle complicated by a vocal anti-vaccination movement.

Globally, measles vaccination rates have stagnated for almost a decade, the WHO said. It and the UNICEF children’s fund say that in 2018, around 86% of children got a first dose of measles vaccine through their country’s routine vaccination services, and fewer than 70% got the second dose recommended to fully protect them from measles infection.

Highly contagious

Samoa Measles
A child gets vaccinated at a health clinic in Apia, Samoa. Samoa. VOA

Measles is one of the most contagious known diseases — more so than Ebola, tuberculosis or flu. It can linger in the air or on surfaces for several hours after an infected person has been and gone — putting anyone not vaccinated at risk.

In some wealthier nations, vaccination rates have been hit by some parents shunning them for what they say are religious or philosophical reasons. Mistrust of authority and debunked myths about links to autism also weaken vaccine confidence and lead some parents to delay protecting their children.

Research published in October showed that measles infection not only carries a risk of death or severe complications including pneumonia, brain damage, blindness and deafness, but can also damage the victim’s immune memory for months or years — leaving those who survive measles vulnerable to other dangerous diseases such as flu or severe diarrhea.

The WHO data showed there were an estimated 9,769,400 cases of measles and 142,300 related deaths globally in 2018. This compares to 7,585,900 cases and 124,000 deaths in 2017.

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In 2018, measles hit hardest in Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Somalia and Ukraine, the WHO said, with these five nations accounting for nearly half of global cases.

Robert Linkins, a specialist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the data were worrying: “Without improving measles vaccine coverage we’re going to continue to see these needless deaths. We must turn this trend around.” (VOA)