A new UN report shows that women’s and children’s health has suffered globally, as the impacts of conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change converge, with devastating effects on prospects for children, young people and women.
Data presented in the report show a clear and critical regression across virtually every major measure of childhood wellbeing, and many key indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Since the last Every Woman Every Child Progress Report published in 2020, food insecurity, hunger, child marriage, risks from intimate partner violence, and adolescent depression and anxiety have all increased.
‘Protect the promise’
The report, titled Protect the Promise, is published by global partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) and Countdown to 2030, as a bi-annual summary of progress in response to the UN Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
An estimated 25 million children were either under-vaccinated or not vaccinated at all in 2021 – 6 million more than in 2019 – increasing their risk of contracting deadly and debilitating diseases.
Millions of children missed out on school during the pandemic, many for more than a year, while approximately 80 per cent of children in 104 countries and territories experienced learning-loss because of school closures.
10.5 million lost parents, caregivers
Since the start of the global pandemic, 10.5 million children have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19.
“At the core of our unkept promise is the failure to address the gaping inequities at the root of global crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to conflicts and the climate emergency”, said UN chief António Guterres.
“The report describes the impacts of these crises on women, children and adolescents, from maternal mortality to education losses to severe malnutrition”.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID pandemic’s “long-term impact on the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents is becoming evident – their chances for healthy and productive lives have declined sharply”.
“As the world emerges from the pandemic, protecting and promoting the health of women, children and young people is essential for supporting and sustaining the global recovery.”
SOURCE: UN News/SLT