October 31, 2016: One in seven of the world’s children is exposed to pollution levels six or more times higher than international standards set by the World Health Organization, according to a new report by UNICEF. The report was released a week ahead of the United Nations Climate Change conference in Marrakech.
“Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year,” says UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, “and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day.”
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Some two billion children live in regions where outdoor air pollution exceeds WHO’s minimum air quality guidelines, with 620 million of those children living in South Asia, followed by 520 million children in Africa, and 450 million children in the East Asia and Pacific region.
UNICEF says young children are particularly susceptible to indoor and outdoor air pollution because their lungs, brains and immune systems are still developing and their respiratory tracts are more permeable.
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UNICEF says it will ask the countries attending the climate change conference to take “four urgent steps” to protect children from air pollution:
Those steps are:
1. adopt measures to reduce pollution;
2. increase children’s access to healthcare;
3. minimize children’s exposure to pollution; and
4. establish better monitoring of air pollution.
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Lake said “We protect our children when we protect the quality of our air. Both are central to our future.” (VOA)
Bangladesh, October 20, 2017 : Nearly fifty-eight per cent of the about 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are children who suffer from severe malnutrition, a UN report released said.
The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) report also said that these children were highly exposed to infectious diseases, Efe news reported.
“In a sense it’s no surprise that they must truly see this place as a hell on earth,” said Simon Ingram, Unicef official and author of the report.
Titled “Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future” was released at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
After two weeks in Cox’s Bazar, a southern Bangladesh town where nearly 600,000 newly arrived refugees are crammed into a crowd of 200,000 Rohingyas who had fled earlier, Ingram described the situation fraught with “despair, misery and indescribable suffering”.
The report highlights the dangers these Rohingya minors faced during the attacks when they were in Myanmar or when they were fleeing the repression to Bangladesh.
The report also highlighted several drawings of children with uniformed soldiers killing people and helicopters spraying bullets from the sky.
In mid-August, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) carried out a coordinated attack on security posts in Myanmar, sparking a violent response from the military which led to thousands of Rohingyas in Rakhine state fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh.
Ingram explained that very little is known about what is happening in Rakhine, since humanitarian agencies have not been able to enter the region since August.
Most of the refugees “are already undernourished, since the repression also included the burning of food stores and the destruction of crops”, he said.
According to the Unicef estimates, one in every five children under the age of five is suffering from acute malnutrition and about 14,500 suffer severe acute malnutrition.
Ingram explained that the main danger of infectious diseases have been mitigated with the vaccination campaign against cholera, measles and polio, but much remains to be done to tackle these risks.
He added the situation worsened with the lack of clean drinking water as these children consumed only contaminated water which is another main source of infection.
With regard to child protection, the expert welcomed the fact that the number of unaccompanied children had decreased to 800, with the identification tasks carried out by the various humanitarian agencies on the ground.
Regarding sexual abuse or forced or early marriages, Ingram explained that for now they have only punctual evidence, but that it is a real risk in any situation such as in Cox’s Bazar.
What does occur relatively frequently, he said, is child labour.
In the area of protection, the essential issue is the status of these people.
Not only do they have to be recognized as refugees, but also that newborns in the countryside or along the way, he said, should be able to obtain some kind of birth certificate.
Unicef and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are negotiating with the Bangladeshi authorities the possibility of issuing birth certificates for newborn Rohingyas, but the talks are still in process.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim minority that Myanmar does not recognize as citizens and are therefore stateless. (IANS)
Geneva, September 28, 2017 : Do you know which is the unhealthiest country in the world? If you think it is some region from the African continent, you are mistaken.
According to a new study by Clinic Compare, the Czech Republic has been recognized as the unhealthiest country in the world.
Drawing upon data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO), CIA World Factbook and the World Lung Association, 179 countries around the world were assessed on three key factors,
Prevalence of obesity
The study thus revealed the most unhealthy country in the world – Czech Republic, and highlighted the need for citizens to change their lifestyle in order to combat life-threatening illnesses and maintain and enjoy a healthy life.
1. Czech Republic
10. Lithuania and the United States
As per the examination, the residents of Czech Republic positioned as the world’s greatest liquor consumers, with every individual expending 13.7 liters of liquor for each annum (around 1.5 shots per day). They additionally ranked eleventh on the list of the highest tobacco customers.
This comes as a surprise as poverty-stricken countries of Africa were instead found to be among the healthiest countries in the world.
According to the research, Eastern Europe emerged as the unhealthiest region in the world, occupying nine out of the best 10 top spots in the list.
41 per cent of the population in Samoa was further revealed to have a BMI over 30, making Oceania the world’s fattest region. Also included in the top 10 list of the fattest regions were Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati.
Healthiest Country in the World
The findings revealed that the healthiest country was Afghanistan with merely 2.7 per cent of the population having a BMI over 30. This places the country on the world’s second lowest rate of obesity.
It was further revealed that the citizens of Afghanistan consume the least recorded quantity of alcohol and smoke 83 cigarettes a year. This can be largely attributed to the nation’s laws that forbid the possession and consumption of alcohol.
The research placed Guinea as the second healthiest country, closely followed by Niger and Nepal.
Eight Countries from Africa made it to the list of the healthiest countries in the world, which comes as a pleasant surprise for all.
According to a WHO report released in mid-September, it was revealed that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardio-vascular diseases are an increasing cause of premature deaths all around the world, taking as many as 30 million lives annually.
These diseases cause self-inflicted damage and trace their roots to individual lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, drugs and unhealthy or unbalanced diet.
The new findings put greater pressure on the countries that have made it to the list of unhealthy countries, thereby urging them to undertake stronger measures.
New York, September 23, 2017 : Thirty-two countries, having the world’s 85 million children under the age of five, do not have any essential policy that supports families with young children, a UNICEF report said.
According to the global body, 40 per cent of the 85 million children, live in just two countries – Bangladesh and the US. The report said that data from various countries including India was missing.
The report says that only 15 countries, including Cuba, France, Portugal, Russia and Sweden, have all the three essential national policies that support families with young children.
“We need to do more to give parents and care givers of young children the support they need during this most critical period of brain development,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, adding that if nations don’t invest now in the most vulnerable children and families, they will continue to perpetuate intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and inequality.
“Life by life, missed opportunity by missed opportunity, we are increasing the gap between the haves and the have-nots and undermining our long-term strength and stability,” said Lake.
According to the report, Early Moments Matter for Every Child, two years of free pre-primary education, paid breastfeeding breaks during the first six months of a child’s life followed by six months of paid maternity leave as well as four weeks of paid paternity leave help lay a critical foundation for optimal early childhood development.
“These policies help parents better protect their children and provide them with better nutrition, play and early learning experiences in the crucial first years of life when the brain grows at a rate never to be repeated,” said the report.
Among the countries, which do not have any of the child or parent related policies are Algeria, Barbados, Bhutan, Brunei, Gambia and Kenya.
The report also highlights that millions of children under five years are spending their formative years in unsafe, unstimulating environments.
“Around 75 million children under-five live in areas affected by conflict, increasing their risk of toxic stress, which can inhibit brain cell connections in early childhood,” the report said.
“Globally, poor nutrition, unhealthy environments and disease have left 155 million children under five stunted, which robs their bodies and brains from developing to their full potential.”
It also mentioned that a quarter of all children between the ages of two and four years in 64 countries do not take part in activities essential for brain development such as playing, reading and singing.
“Around 300 million children globally live in areas where the air is toxic, which emerging research shows can damage children’s developing brains,” it said and added that the failure to protect and provide the most disadvantaged children with early development opportunities undermines potential growth of whole societies and economies. (IANS)