Children are the future of our world and a society without children has no future. This is true and there cannot be a better way to secure the future than investing in children today. Recognising this, the United Nations set aside 20th November every year to mark World Children’s Day all across the globe.
World Children’s Day started in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day to commemorate the day that the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. Later in 1989 on the same date the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This years theme focuses on is reimagining a better future for coming generations. This is especially relevant in the different World we find ourselves in during the COVID pandemic. We are proud to join parents, teachers, business leaders, organisations, and businesses all around the World in supporting and encouraging children to come up with creative solutions for the future.
COVID-19 and Children
The impact of the pandemic on the society is immense, and children are even more vulnerable during this crisis. While the extent of the effects of the pandemic on children vary, those living in poor countries have been hit the most. This is because they are unlikely to adhere to the protocols laid down by the Ministry of Health.
According to an analysis carried out by Save the Children and UNICEF, approximately 150 million children are living in multidimensional poverty. This means that they have no access to essential services such as education, healthcare and sanitation due to COVID-19.
Another study covering 118 low- and middle-income countries by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, reveals that an additional 1.2 million under-five deaths could occur in just six months due to reductions in routine health service coverage levels and an increase in child wasting.
Additionally, more vulnerable children risk malnourishment as the quality of their meals has deteriorated. Many children in poorer countries depend on the school feeding program where they can get proper nourishment. This therefore means that closure of schools due to the pandemic will affect the health of such children.
As part of the global measures set up to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, schools were shut down. The education sector was already straining and the pandemic has made it worse as schools in poor countries do not have the resources to invest in digital learning. Where learning is progressing remotely, children in poor countries are not able to learn due to lack of resources.
COVID-19 pandemic seems to have put most children who were already vulnerable at a higher risk. Due to loss of income in households and closure of schools, children are now engaging in manual labour. They are engaging in these economic activities in order to contribute to the survival of their families. This day therefore seeks to draw attention to the ills faced by children and how to address them.
What needs to happen
UNICEF and its partners are calling on Governments to adopt a Six-Point Plan to Protect the Children:
- Ensure all children learn, including by closing the digital divide.
- Guarantee access to health and nutrition services and make vaccines affordable and available to every child.
- Support and protect the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence, and neglect in childhood.
- Increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and address environmental degradation and climate change.
- Reverse the rise in child poverty and ensure an inclusive recovery for all.
- Redouble efforts to protect and support children and their families living through conflict, disaster, and displacement.
Each person has a duty of ensuring that that the rights of children such as life and health are protected. They have a responsibility to protect them from violence, discrimination and to have their views heard.
At MYDAWA, we have been at the forefront ensuing that we provide quality access on basic medical care to families. In the advent of Covid-19 we have ensured that we promptly deliver basics like face masks, handwash and sanitizers.
Despite the impact of the Corona Virus, all countries can still come together to promote the rights of children. They can do this by creating an environment that will help improve the well-being of all children globally. It is time for generations to come together to the kind of world we want to create.
On this World Children’s Day 2020, we encourage every member of the society to advocate, promote and celebrate the rights of children. They can do so by engaging in discussions and coming up with solutions on how to create a better world for the children.0