By Chioma Obinna
A landmark report released by a Committee convened by the World Health Organization, WHO, UNICEF and The Lancet, has ranked Nigeria in the bottom 10 for performance on child flourishing.
In the report, tagged: “A Future for the World’s Children”, which compared child flourishing in a new global index of 180 countries, the country also ranked 174 out of 180, below Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.
The ranking was based on factors including measures of child survival and well-being such as health, education, nutrition, equity, and income gaps.
The report found that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol, and tobacco at children.
According to the report, no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment, and their futures.
Reacting to the report, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Claes Johansson said it demonstrates how far the country needs to go to ensure children 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, works 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,”
The further notes that while the poorest countries need to do more to support their children’s ability to live healthy lives, excessive carbon emissions disproportionately from wealthier countries threaten the future of all children.
“If global warming exceeds 4°C by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, the proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition,” the report revealed.
The new index showed that children in Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, while children in Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger, and Mali face the worst odds.
Minister from Senegal and Co-Chair of the Commission, Awa Coll-Seck said: “More than 2 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 have among the lowest CO2 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.”
Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet family of journals, Dr. Richard Horton said: “The opportunity is great. The evidence is available. The tools are at hand. From heads-of-state to local government, from UN leaders to children themselves, this Commission calls for the birth of a new era for child and adolescent health. It will take courage and commitment to deliver. It is the supreme test of our generation.”
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said: “From the climate crisis to obesity and harmful commercial marketing, children around the world have to contend with threats that were unimaginable just a few generations ago.
“It is time for a rethink on child health, one which places children at the top of every government’s development agenda and puts their well-being above all considerations.”
The Director-General of the World Health Organization, WHO, 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,”
“This must be a wakeup 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.”
About Article Author