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Seventy Million Children likely to die by 2030 if Nations lack Developmental Goals, warns UNICEF

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Poor Kids. Image source: gogetfunding.com
  • UNICEF urges governments, donors and NGOs to focus on the most disadvantaged children and close the gaps 
  • The migration and refugee crisis affecting Europe is one example of how inequalities are fueling global instability
  • UNICEF is urging countries to develop national plans so they can meet the 2030 sustainable development agenda

UNICEF, UN children’s agency, had warned that about 70 million of people could die between 2016 to 2030 if there parents and government do not put in efforts to achieve their developmental goals.

In its annual State of the World’s Children report issued Tuesday, June 28, UNICEF urges governments, donors and NGOs to focus on the most disadvantaged children and close the gaps, giving all young people a better chance at a bright future.

UNICEF (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
UNICEF (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

“These vast inequities and dangers do more than violate the rights and imperil the futures of individual children,” says UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in the report. “They perpetuate inter-generational cycles of disadvantage and inequality that undermine the stability of societies and even the security of nations everywhere,” he added.

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The migration and refugee crisis affecting Europe is one example of how inequalities are fueling global instability, said Justin Forsyth, UNICEF deputy executive director.

“A combination of poor governance, conflict, but also inequality and inequity is fueling that instability, which is fueling that mass movement of people,” he said of the migrants on the move from North Africa.

Forsyth says the situation can be improved with small investments in health and education. “We could save up to 147 million children from death from under five [years old] child mortality, just with a 2 percent increase in expenditure in 74 countries.” That translates to about $30 billion a year.

UNICEF is urging countries to develop national plans so they can meet the ambitious targets they have committed to in the 2030 sustainable development agenda.

Africa struggling

The report raises the alarm for children in sub-Saharan Africa, where two out of three live in poverty and most have had less than four years of schooling.

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Conflict, corruption, poor governance and the effects of climate change are hindering sustainable progress on the sub-continent.

Poor Children in Africa(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Children in Africa. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“In those places like DR Congo, like South Sudan, like the Central African Republic, where a combination of conflict and poor governance has meant that they haven’t kept up with the rest of Africa, we need to continue to invest in those places,” said UNICEF Program Director Ted Chaiban.

UNICEF predicted if the developmental goals are not met, around 35 million African children will die before attaining an age of five from preventable causes and those who survive will have poor primary school attendance and 9 out of ten will live in extreme poverty. (VOA)

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Manushi Chhillar Joins Hands with UNICEF to Promote Menstrual Hygiene

Manushi believes there still is silence and misinformation

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Manushi Chhillar
Manushi is all set to promote the need to educate girls with all information on maintaining hygiene. Wikimedia Commons

Former Miss World and Bollywood debutant Manushi Chhillar has joined hands with Unicef to promote menstrual hygiene as she says there still is silence and misinformation.

On World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Thursday, Manushi will be promoting the need to educate girls with all information on maintaining hygiene, constructing adequate sanitation facilities and providing quick access to feminine hygiene products.

“Menstruation is still a taboo and we will have to work hard towards ensuring that every girl, every woman in every corner of our country is safe,” said Manushi, who has participated in the UNICEF global initiative called the Red Dot Challenge – a symbol adopted by the world body to depict menstrual cycle.

Manushi, who also runs her own initiative on menstrual hygiene called Project Shakti, said that every girl has the right to accurate information about her body.

“Every young girl has the right to accurate information about her body. Without the right information, girls often don’t know how to safely manage their period. There still is silence and misinformation. We have come a long way but a lot still needs to be done.

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“Without the right information, girls often don’t know how to safely manage their period.”, Manushi was quoted saying. Pixabay

“We all need to contribute towards raising awareness on this. I’m proud and honoured to be associated with UNICEF for this novel initiative that aims at debunking misinformation, taboos and also raise awareness on this critical issue.”

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Manushi is all set to make her Bollywood debut opposite superstar Akshay Kumar in the upcoming film “Prithviraj”.

Directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, “Prithviraj” is based on the life of king Prithviraj Chauhan. It stars Akshay as Prithviraj, while Manushi will play the role of the Sanyogita, the love of his life. (IANS)

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COVID-19 Restrictions Cause Disruption in Vaccination Programs: WHO, Other Organisations

Vaccination Programes have been disrupted because of the restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

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Vaccination
A health worker injects a man with Ebola vaccine in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Aug. 5, 2019. VOA

Nearly 80 million children under age 1 are at higher risk of preventable diseases such as measles, cholera and polio because of the disruption of routine vaccination programs, according to a report released Friday by the World Health Organization and other global organizations.

Immunization campaigns have been disrupted in half of the 129 countries surveyed around the world in March and April, according to data produced by the WHO, UNICEF, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Of the 68 countries, 27 have suspended their measles initiatives. Thirty-eight countries have suspended campaigns to vaccinate children against polio.

The COVID-19 pandemic is “walking back progress” that was made in vaccinating children around the world, putting children and their families at greater risk of diseases that routine vaccinations can prevent, Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, said.

“More children in more countries are now protected against more vaccine-preventable diseases than at any point in history,” Berkley said in a statement. “Due to COVID-19, this immense progress is now under threat, risking the resurgence of diseases like measles and polio. Not only will maintaining immunization programs prevent more outbreaks, but it will also ensure we have the infrastructure we need to roll out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine on a global scale.”

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Experts said a decline in vaccinations in one country could have consequences for other countries.VOA

Fearing doctor visits

Routine immunization has been hindered for many reasons.

Some parents are no longer taking their children to clinics and hospitals out of fear of exposure to the virus, while others are unable to do so because of lockdowns.

The delivery of vaccines and required protective equipment has been delayed in many countries because of a cutback in commercial flights and chartered plane availability.

Health care workers also have been relocated to help fight the pandemic, leaving fewer to administer vaccinations.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that to combat this decline in immunizations, countries need to intensify efforts to find and track unvaccinated children, address gaps in delivery and develop innovative solutions.

The consequences if countries are unable to give routine immunizations, “can be deadly,” Fore said.

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Experts are concerned that deaths from normally preventable diseases could surpass coronavirus deaths if vaccination efforts are not reinstated.

Berkley, of Gavi, requested $7.4 billion for vaccination efforts over the next five years.

Experts said a decline in vaccinations in one country could have consequences for other countries.

Dr. Kate O’Brien, director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, said inoculation efforts should be viewed as a “global public good” because “pathogens do not recognize borders,” and if one country is at risk of an outbreak, all countries are at risk. (VOA)

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Commute to Work by Walking, Cycling Instead of Car to Reduce Early Death Risk

Driving to work may increase risk of early death

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Cycling your way to work may reduce risk of early death. Pixabay

People who walk, cycle and travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness compared with those who commute by car, according to a new study.

For the findings, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, the researchers conducted a study on more than 300,000 commuters in England and Wales. They used census data to track the same people for up to 25 years, between 1991-2016. The researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge in the UK, suggest increased walking and cycling post-lockdown may reduce deaths from heart disease and cancer.

“As large numbers of people begin to return to work as the COVID-19 lockdown eases, it is a good time for everyone to rethink their transport choices,” said study researcher Dr Richard Patterson from the University of Cambridge.

train death
People travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness. Pixabay

The research team found that compared with those who drove, those who cycled to work had a 20 per cent reduced rate of early death, 24 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease during the study period, a 16 per cent reduced rate of death from cancer, and an 11 per cent reduced rate of a cancer diagnosis.

Walking to work was associated with a seven per cent reduced rate in cancer diagnosis, compared to driving. The team explain that associations between walking and other outcomes, such as rates of death from cancer and heart disease, were less certain.

One potential reason for this is people who walk to work are, on average, in less affluent occupations than people who drive to work, and more likely to have underlying health conditions which could not be fully accounted for.

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The study shows that those who drove had a 20 per cent increased rate of early death compared to those who cycled to work. Pixabay

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The research also revealed that compared with those who drove to work, rail commuters had a 10 per cent reduced rate of early death, a 20 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 12 per cent reduced rate of cancer diagnosis.

This is likely due to them walking or cycling to transit points, although rail commuters also tend to be more affluent and less likely to have other underlying conditions.”With severe and prolonged limits in public transport capacity likely, switching to private car use would be disastrous for our health and the environment,” Patterson said.”Encouraging more people to walk and cycle will help limit the longer-term consequences of the pandemic,” Patterson wrote. (IANS)