World leaders are calling for urgent action to reverse cuts to vital health services for women, children and adolescents, caused by COVID-19, conflict and climate change.
The call became necessary following the data from World Health Organisation WHO and UNICEF which shows that in 2021 alone, 25 million children did not receive the basic vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
According to WHO, in 2022, 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection, a significant increase from the 235 million people a year ago, the highest figure in decades.
A release at this year’s Accountability Breakfast by the Board Chair, Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), an organization under the WHO, Rt Hon Helen Clark, states that leaders need to understand what people want, play their part as champions in creating robust and responsive health systems and communities.
The report explains that “West and Central Africa has one of Africa’s largest displaced populations, with some 5.6 million internally displaced, 1.3 million refugees, 1.4 million returnees who still need assistance, and 1.6 million Stateless.
In the Sahel region, armed conflict and attacks on civilians have displaced nearly three million people, nearly one million since January 2019.
PMNCH says “Worldwide, there are now around 470,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from the Central American ‘Northern Triangle’ of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras alone, an increase of 33 percent as compared to 2018. Early marriage is much more prevalent in the Northern Triangle than in other countries in LAC. In Guatemala, the rate is 30 percent and in Honduras 34 percent compared to 12 percent across the LAC region overall.”
The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has drawn the attention of the United Nations General Assembly 77, (UNGA 77) that climate change reduces opportunity and prosperity which, in Africa, Latin America, and some parts of Asia, contributes to transnational organized crimes.
The President said as part of Nigeria’s efforts at achieving her Global Net-zero aspiration, the government had adopted a National Climate Change Strategy, which aims to deliver climate change mitigation in a sustainable manner.
He expressed the hope that UNGA 77 and the forthcoming COP 27 would help galvanise the political will required to drive action towards the fulfillment of the various existing climate change initiatives.
The UN Secretary General’s Global Advocate for Every Woman and former President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, said urgent action must be taken to celebrate progress in the future.
“I am calling for more accountability, and more proof that women, children and adolescents are the priority of governments and organizations.” Kersti Kaljulaid said.
The global leaders stressed the need to increase investment in universal health coverage (UHC) and evidence-based programmes, to improve health outcomes among adolescents and their families
Writing by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare