HIV One of Risks Facing Millions of Children Worldwide Who Are Not Registered at Birth, UNICEF Report Says
HIV is one of the many risks facing millions of children worldwide who are not registered at birth, according to UNICEF's State of the World's Children 2006 report, which was released on Wednesday, the Toronto Star reports (Ward, Toronto Star, 12/14). The report, titled "Excluded and Invisible," says about 50 million children around the world are not registered at birth, and that number is increasing (Lovell, Reuters, 12/14). Because of factors such as war; corrupt governments; poverty; and religious, ethnic and gender discrimination, children are not registered and therefore grow up "outside society from their infancy," the Star reports (Toronto Star, 12/14). Such children become "invisible" to their communities, governments and the world at large, so they do not receive access to schooling and health care, the report says (BBC News, 12/14). "[L]iterally millions of kids are dying silently every year of preventable diseases" such as HIV/AIDS, Nigel Fisher, president of UNICEF Canada, said (Toronto Star, 12/14). Many children who have lost parents to AIDS also become "invisible" because they are rejected by their communities, and many live on the streets, according to Reuters (Reuters, 12/14). Fisher said that these problems keep the children beyond the reach of the aid of donor countries, adding that foreign donors are "familiar with many visible catastrophes such as the tsunami, which gets world attention," but for the millions of children dying annually, "every day is like a tsunami" (Toronto Star, 12/14). UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman said with enough political will it is possible to reach vulnerable children, as well as achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, which include curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS (AFP/Khaleej Times, 12/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.