UNICEF Report Should Be ‘Wake-Up Call’ for Nations, Individuals To Help ‘Vulnerable’ Children, Editorial Says
A recently released UNICEF report on the state of the world's children should "serve as a wake-up call for nations and individuals to do more to help the most vulnerable among us," a Christian Science Monitor editorial says (Christian Science Monitor, 12/23). The report, released earlier this month, found that more than one billion children worldwide are denied the healthy and protected upbringing guaranteed by the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report also says that in 2003 nearly 500,000 children under 15 years old died of AIDS-related causes, and an additional 630,000 children were infected with HIV. Approximately 2.1 million children under age 15 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2003, most of whom contracted the virus in utero, during birth or through breastfeeding. The number of children worldwide who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS increased from 11.5 million to 15 million between 2001 and 2003, and 80% of those children live in sub-Saharan Africa (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/9). Although the report "does identify some progress" -- including a reduction in the overall child mortality rate and increases in access to education -- it also "clearly shows that too many" countries that signed the Convention of the Rights of the Child "have not lived up to the agreement," according to the Monitor. Therefore, "[r]eaching the most vulnerable children" should be the first step in meeting the goals of the convention, the editorial says, adding that "what's most needed is to foster the commitment of individuals, families, businesses, and communities to get involved -- and stay involved -- in bettering the lives of children." While "more money certainly can help, curing the problems of so many children will take far more [than] that," the editorial says, concluding that "those free from poverty, disease and war can remember to do what they can ... to help more of the world's children live to adulthood and develop their potential" (Christian Science Monitor, 12/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.