Stunning decline in health of women, children and adolescents revealed in new UN analysis

Berlin, October 18 2022 A new UN report shows that the health of women and children has suffered globally, as the effects of conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change converge with devastating effects on the prospects for children, youth and women.

The data in the report shows a critical decline across nearly every major measure of childhood well-being, and many key indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since the last Every Woman’s Progress Report, Every Child published in 2020, food insecurity, hunger, child marriage, risks of intimate partner violence, and teen depression and anxiety have increased.

An estimated 25 million children were unvaccinated or not vaccinated in 2021 – 6 million more than in 2019 – increasing their risk of fatal and debilitating diseases. Millions of children have missed school during the pandemic, many for more than a year, while nearly 80% of children in 104 countries and territories have experienced learning loss due to school closures. Since the start of the global pandemic, 10.5 million children have lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19.

“At the heart of our disrespected promise is the failure to address the inequalities at the root of global crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to conflict and the climate emergency. The report describes the effects of these crises on women, children and adolescents, from maternal deaths to education losses to acute malnutrition.” António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The report provides extensive evidence that children and adolescents face highly differentiated opportunities to lead healthy lives based on where they were born, their exposure to conflict, and the economic circumstances of their families. For example:

  • The average life expectancy of a child born in a low-income country is about 63 years, compared to 80 years in a high-income country. This devastating 17-year survival gap has not changed much in recent years. In 2020, 5 million children died even before the age of five, most of them from preventable or treatable causes. Meanwhile, most maternal, child and adolescent deaths and stillbirths are concentrated in only two regions – sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • More than 45 million children were suffering from acute malnutrition in 2020, a life-threatening condition that leaves them vulnerable to death, developmental delays and disease. Nearly three-quarters of these children live in lower middle income countries. 149 million children were stunted in 2020. Africa is the only region where the number of children affected by stunting has increased over the past 20 years, from 54.4 million in 2000 to 61.4 million in 2020.
  • The six countries with the largest number of IDPs – Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen – are also among the top ten food insecure countries.
  • Women in sub-Saharan Africa have a risk of dying from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth about 130 times higher than women in Europe or North America. Coverage of antenatal care, skilled birth attendants, and postpartum care is far from reaching all women in low- and middle-income countries, putting them at a high risk of death and disability.
  • Millions of children and their families are suffering from deteriorating physical and mental health from recent humanitarian disasters in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Somalia, Ukraine and Yemen. In 2021, 89.3 million people worldwide were uprooted from their homes by war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses.

The report calls on the global community to address this devastating path and protect the promises made to women, children and adolescents in the Sustainable Development Goals. It particularly calls on countries to continue investing in health services, tackling all crises and food insecurity, and empowering women and youth around the world.

The report is entitled protect the promiseAnd the Published by global partners including WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and Countdown to 2030, as a semi-annual summary of progress in response to the UN Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child strategy For the health of women, children and adolescents. It is the most comprehensive synthesis of evidence on the current state of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, and updates the latest progress report for the Every Woman Every Child global strategy published in 2020.

quote sheet:

Dr. said. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “As the world emerges from the pandemic, protecting and promoting the health of women, children, and youth is essential to support and sustain the global recovery.”

“The impacts of COVID-19, conflict and climate crises have increased risks for vulnerable communities, exposed weaknesses and inequalities in health care systems and reversed hard-earned progress for women, children and adolescents — but we are not powerless,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. Investing in flexible and comprehensive primary health care systems, initiating routine immunization programs, and strengthening the health workforce, we can ensure that every woman and every child can access the care they need to survive and thrive.”

There is an inequity crisis piling on the already growing and exacerbating threats. In a world where so many children, adolescents and women are dying, equality, empowerment and access are what needs urgent focus,” said Her Excellency Ms. Kirsti Kaljulaid, Global Advocate for Every Woman, Every Child and President of the Republic of Estonia, 2016-2021. We call on everyone to Think and act broadly and deeply to protect the promise.This promise refers not only to the commitments made in the Sustainable Development Goals, and all the campaigns that followed, but also to the greater promise of the possibilities that all are born with.Too often this promise remains unfulfilled. demanded, or even denied.”

“In the face of growing political backsliding against sexual and reproductive health and rights in many countries, women, children and adolescents today are left without much of the protections that existed only a decade ago, and many still have not seen the progress they need,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA. “Access to sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptives, is a fundamental right that directly and seriously affects the ability of women and adolescent girls to thrive. We need to extend these rights and services to the most marginalized, without leaving anyone behind.”

“The report calls on countries to continue investing in health services, in all crises, and to reimagine health systems that can truly reach every woman, child and adolescent, no matter who they are or where they live,” the RT report states. Honorable Helen Clark, Chair of the Board of Directors of PMNCH (Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health) and former Prime Minister of New Zealand. “Experts and world leaders are calling for more women to participate in policy and decision-making at every level, meaningful engagement with youth, and primary health care systems that deliver what people need when and where they need it most.”


Editor’s Notes:

The report will be launched at the Global Health Summit in Berlin on October 18, 2022 at 9am GMT+2 in a session where world leaders and youth will discuss the findings. The session can be joined in person or practically.

Speakers include:

  • RT. presence. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Chair of the PMNCH (PMNCH)Tweet embed)
  • Her Excellency Kristi Kaljulaid, Former President of Estonia and Global Advocate for the United Nations Secretary-General for Every Woman, Every Child (Tweet embed)
  • Dr Austin Dembe, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone (mohs_sl)
  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)Tweet embed)
  • Aboubacar Campo, Director of Health, UNICEF (Tweet embed)
  • Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)Tweet embed)
  • Anshu Banerjee, Director, Division of Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Aging Health, World Health Organization (WHO)Tweet embed)
  • Yana Panfilova, founder of Teenergizer, Ukrainian activist and refugee (Tweet embed)
  • Haj As, Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation (Tweet embed)
  • Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International (Tweet embed)
  • Maziko Matymphu, President and Founder of Uwale (Tweet embed)
  • Loyce Pace, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, USA (Tweet embed)

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