Nigerian ranks 178 for poor protection of children

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A news report released by a commission convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and The Lancet has ranked Nigeria 174 out of 180 countries that has poor performance  on child flourishing.

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According to the report made available to the Daily Times by UNICEF Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships, Oluwatosin Akingbulu, Nigeria was scored below Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

The report titled; ‘’ A Future for the World’s Children?’’, disclosed  that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.

It said that no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.

The ranking is based on factors including measures of child survival and well-being such as health, education, nutrition, equity and income gaps.

The report includes a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing.

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According to the report, while the poorest countries need to do more to support their children’s ability to live healthy lives, excessive carbon emissions – disproportionately from wealthier countries – threatens the future of all children.

‘’If global warming exceeds 4°C by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.

‘’The index shows that children in Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, while children in Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds’’, it stated.

Meanwhile, UNICEF Representative to Nigeria Claes Johansson, while reacting to the development stressed the need for the Nigeria government to invest in the future of every child  by providing them with quality education and the right nutrition.

He said, “This demonstrates how far we still need to go in Nigeria to ensure that children can live healthy lives in an environment where they can thrive.

‘’We know that investing in the future of our children, giving them an education and making sure they are healthy and receive the right nutrition, works to provide a better future for everyone.  We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the health and future of every Nigerian child’’.

In the meantime, to protect children, the independent Commission’s authors have called for a new global movement driven by and for children. They listed some  specific recommendations to include:

‘’putting an end to  CO2 emissions with the utmost urgency, to ensure that children have a future on the planet

‘’’To place children and adolescents at the centre of efforts to achieve sustainable development.

‘’New policies and investment in all sectors to work towards child health and rights.

‘’Incorporate children’s voices into policy decisions.

‘’Tighten national regulation of harmful commercial marketing, supported by a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’’.

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