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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] Universal Child Health and its role in achieving SDGs [RGMUN 2019]

by Prakriti Dhakal | 05-09-2019 22:13 Comments 5 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations



It gives me an immense pleasure to serve as a chair on Rotaract Global Model United Nations 2019 on a UNDP committee; I have shared about the first agenda we have discussed in the committee and the resolution paper we have prepared. This could be very much helpful who wanted to know about the relation between universal child health and Sustainable Development Goals that is related to environment as well.

 

 

Agenda: Universal Child Health and its Role in Achieving SDGs

Introduction

Sustainable Development Goal 3 is “Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages” and this goal, among it’s targets, includes reducing mortality rates worldwide through ensuring better access to health services for people worldwide, as well as ending preventable deaths for children. When it comes to health, especially child health, there are many factors that are non-preventable. However, many premature deaths occur due to preventable diseases, which affects mortality rates worldwide and is an issue to be combatted.

Health in general is defined as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". With that definition in mind, it is crucial to note that early childhood development in the dimensions of physical, mental and social health is detrimental for good child health. The concept of universal child health thus emerged, and it focuses on the importance of providing access to reliable, safe and affordable healthcare for all children worldwide.

When it comes to discussing children mortality (with children defined as individuals from the age of 0 to 19 years old), data reveals that, in 2017, an estimated 6.3 million children under the age of 15 died. When it comes to child care and health, however, most cases discussed are for children under the age of 5, as they are assumed to be the most vulnerable and those requiring the most assistance and aid. Ensuring that children are healthy from a young age helps with their development later on, and thus reduces medical aid. This can be exemplified through the fact that out of the 6.3 million child deaths, 5.4 million of these deaths were for children under the age of 5, and 2.5 million children did not make it past their first month of life. This data reveals that over the period of a year, approximately 15,000 children under the age of 5 die every day. Over 50% of the conditions leading to early child death (under the age of 5) are preventable or treatable should affordable and simple access to healthcare had been available.

The following points are important:

-          Under-5 years leading causes of death: preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, diarrhea, malaria

-          Newborn deaths suffering due to the cases above  account for 50% of the under-5 death count

-          While the under-5 mortality rate (defined as the number of deaths per 1000 live births) dropped from 93 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 39 deaths in 2017, there is still a long way to go, noting that as per target 3.2 of SDG 3, the goal is to reduce the “under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1000 live births”

 

Sub-Saharan Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, 2.9 million children under 5 died in 2013, meaning that 5 children under 5 die every minute in the region. Approximately two-thirds of the deaths are due to preventable causes, and a third of all the deaths are newborn. The recorded deaths showed about 473,000 deaths due to pneumonia, 300,000 due to diarrhea and 443,000 from malaria

“Although tremendous progress has been made in identifying and treating infants and children with HIV, much remains to be done to scale-up and sustain effective prevention, care and treatment, especially of pneumonia and diarrhoea,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

SUb-Saharan Africa, being a resource-constrained country, 50% of the deaths are due to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection that affects the lungs, and can be treated with proper care and medication. Noting that many children - over 220,000 are HIV-infected in the region - one of the leading causes for death resulting from that is persistent diarrheal disease, which requires oral rehydration and zinc in combination with antiretroviral therapy (ART) - alongside restoring immune functions, to cure children. However, lack of access to care prevents that, and remains a major problem to this day.

 

Nutrition Related Risk Factors

Nutrition and proper access to nutrition plays a major role in child health, where around 45% of all deaths of children under 5 years old are caused by nutrition related factors. According to Dr Moeti, “Undernutrition is another critical risk factor in most countries in the African Region, and nutrition and food security remains a fundamental challenge to child survival. Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to provide newborns, infants and young children with the nutrients that they need while protecting them against conditions like pneumonia, diarrhoea and undernutrition”.

As per the “Convention on the Rights of the Child”, every infant and child has the right to good nutrition. However, access to proper nutrition remains a major problem, where in 2015, 156 million children under 5 were estimated to be too short for their age and 50 million were estimated to be too thin for their height. Noting that breastfeeding is one of the most fundamental and important ways to provide nutrition for newborns and avoid malnutrition, only 43% of infants are exclusively breastfed, worlwide.It is estimated that around 800,000 children could be saved if they were breastfed.

Breastfeeding is not the only issue in question, either. In many countries, particularly low-income, less than a quarter of all children are fed as frequently as they should be, and meet the criteria of dietary diversity.

Actions Taken by the UN

The primary action taken by the United Nations is the development of the Sustainable Development Goals, where some of these goals are a direct response to child health and the underlying factors. Primarily, the most focused SDGs surrounding this topic are SDG 2: Zero Hunger and SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being. However, referring to the rest of the SDGs, it can be observed that many of these goals have indicators that target the eradication of diseases and providing a better life. Almost every SDG can be linked in one way or another to improving the lives of children, where SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation making clean water accessible to all, and it is no secret that hygienic and sanitary water is fundamental to good health, as many diseases are waterborne. Even more so, unclean water brings with it a different set of bacteria, which can cause fatal infections. Areas that lack access to clean water and areas that lack basic hospice care are often vulnerable, as this unsanitary water is also often used to water crops - making it a lifestyle threat.

In addition to the SDGs, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1995, which highlights children's rights to health care. Additionally, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified treaty internationally, and it’s principles guide the work of many action plans. Finally, it is important to note that many entities within the UN work towards providing health care and eradicating the factors that stand as an obstacle to it, where the World Food Programme works tirelessly to provide nutrition particularly in vulnerable areas, and the World Health Organization has carried out a multitude of diseases-eradication campaigns.

Conclusion

Children in different areas of the world do not have adequate access to health care, and the high cost of medical care puts a burden that often hampers progress in developing children’s health, and increases under-five years old mortality rates. Povrty stricken areas are far more vulnerable areas, and poverty is a leading cause of poor health systems and consequently high death rates. Even more so, other factors such as lack of access to clean water, lack of basic nutrition and lack of medication - even affordable - contribute greatly to preventing child development. To ensure that every child get’s their right to a good life, it is critical to ensure their health. 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions to Consider

1.      What are local governments doing to ensure that every child has access to proper health care?

2.      What is your country’s status with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals?

3.      How can access to basic nutrition be guaranteed?

4.      What are some actions that UNDP can take to combat the problem at hand?

5.      What are the main reasons that children in the sub-Saharan region lack access to health care, and how can that be combatted?

6.      What can the international community do in order to protect children and provide them with their basic rights, keeping in mind the actions already taken?

7.      What are the main problems faced by your country during child health care?

8.      How are local people contributing to child health care?

9.      How can you solve this problem at a short period of time?

10.  Which countries are contributing at most for the problem faced?

11.  Why is this problem majorly seen in sub-saharan region?

12.  How can developed countries take part in improving child health care?

13.  How many sustainable development goals are affected by child health care?

14.  What can be done to obtain maximum development on sustainable development goals?

15.  How can we have a regular check on child health care?

 

 

Bibliography

       I.            Concept: Child Health Status Indicators (2001), mchp-appserv.cpe.umanitoba.ca/viewConcept.php?printer=Y&conceptID=1152.

    II.            “Child Health.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.afro.who.int/health-topics/child-health.

 III.            “Children.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/children/.

 IV.            “Children: Reducing Mortality.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/children-reducing-mortality.

    V.            “Goal 2: Zero Hunger - United Nations Sustainable Development.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/.

 VI.            “Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.” UNDP, www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-6-clean-water-and-sanitation.html.

VII.            “Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Data.” UNICEF DATA, data.unicef.org/resources/dataset/infant-young-child-feeding/.

VIII.            “Progress for Every Child in the SDG Era Dashboard.” UNICEF DATA, 3 Oct. 2018, data.unicef.org/resources/progress-every-child-sdg-era-dashboard/.

 IX.            “SDG 3: Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Wellbeing for All at All Ages.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 3 Feb. 2017, www.who.int/sdg/targets/en/.

                                                                                 Resolution 1.1

Committee: The United Nations Development Programme

Sponsors: The Federal Republic of Somalia, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and   Northern Ireland

Signatories: Canada, France, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, United States of America, Hungary , India

Topic: Universal Child Health Coverage and its role in achieving the sustainable development goals

Reminding all nations of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes the Sustainable Development Goals including “No poverty”, “Zero hunger” along with providing good health and well being of children of all global sector,

Recalling the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and its role in increasing immunization rates, providing financial support and smooth functioning of the immunization programmes,

Emphasizing the role of exclusive breastfeeding and proper nutrition in reducing neonatal and infant mortality rate,

Noting with deep concern the lack of access to proper health care and skilled manpower in the developing countries, especially in the rural area,

Alarmed by the situation in Subsaharan Africa due to HIV epidemic and increased prevalence of diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria,

Expressing concern that inadequate maternal and child health care are causing an increase in neonatal and infant mortality,

Taking into account the need for transparency and accountability about the proper utilization of the funds provided by the International communities,

Noting with satisfaction the role of Rotary International in organizing community based health programmes,

Deeply concerned about the state of social and mental wellbeing of the children in Armed Conflict,

Deeply disturbed by the anti vaccine campaigns in some countries,

The United Nations Development Programme

1.                  Encourages all relevant agencies of the United Nations to collaborate more closely with countries at the grassroots level to enhance the carrying out awareness campaigns on sexual and reproductive health and sanitation;

2.                  Urges nations to run exclusive breastfeeding campaigns by:

a)                  Giving out pamphlets in schools and daycares,

b)                  Mobilizing Female Community Health Volunteers to ensure inclusive breastfeeding is taking place;

3.                  Stresses that nations have to focus on maternal health and education by,

a)                  Organizing awareness campaigns and informal education sessions to women in rural areas, and

b)                  Including maternal health education in courses in highschool and college system;

4.                  Highly recommends the provision of good pay, incentives and appropriate facilities for health workers to encourage them to work in rural areas;

5.                  Requests international funding for establishment of health infrastructures to provide at least basic health services in rural areas of developing countries;

6.                  Recommends the  introduction of single window system of distribution by existing United Mission to Africa for uniform distribution of resources and aids  like vaccines, ORS, nutritious food supplies and sanitary products in sub-Saharan Africa region;

7.                  Draws attention to the importance of safe and clean drinking water by calling for the establishment of water purifying units at distribution level in every water supply system of rural areas;

8.                  Endorses the need for check and balance distribution system of resources and aids provided by the donors in various programmes;

9.                  Ensure the protection and assurance of health care and child rights of the refugee children;

10.              Calls upon all nations to make the vaccination of all children under the age of five years old mandatory;

11.              Urges to provide shelter and  refuge to kids involved in armed conflict while adhering to the respective country’s policy;

12.              Emphasizes the need to establish rehab homes, treatment program to kids involved in substance abuse;

13.              Ensure the protection and assurance of health care and child rights of refugee children by providing them with a healthy lifestyle and treating them as equals of the nation they are taking refuge in;

14.              Urges involvement of children in social service clubs like Interact to combat drug addiction amongst adolescents.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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5 Comments

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Prakriti di

    I do hope that you are fine and doing great with your works.
    Thank you for your report about Universal Child Health and its role in achieving SDGs [RGMUN]

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Regards,
    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 04-10-2019 21:59

Hyeongmin Mentor

  • Hyeongmin Mentor says :
    Hello Prakriti!
    Thank you for the detailed information!
    It's a sad thing many children are suffering for preventable diseases.
    I hope systemetic access to heath care is located throughout the world soon.
    Posted 15-09-2019 01:07

ALOK DHAKAL

  • ALOK DHAKAL says :
    Great report.
    Posted 07-09-2019 13:45

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Hello Prakriti sis
    I hope you are fine.
    Great report.
    MUN always close to the heart.
    Green cheers!
    Yours
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 07-09-2019 12:27

Meena Pandey

  • Meena Pandey says :
    Thank you for such a informative report.
    Keep writing.
    Posted 06-09-2019 23:36

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