The rights and health of women, adolescents and children are encountering setbacks to a degree that has not been seen in more than a generation. According to UNICEF, this is mostly attributed to the “three Cs”: COVID-19, conflict and climate change.
The World Health Organization and UNICEF recently released Protect the promise: 2022 progress report on the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016–2030).
“This global progress report presents key data, trends and developments in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being followed by a deeper dive into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” UNICEF said in its announcement. “The report concludes with recommendations for accelerating progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda even in such challenging times, with an emphasis on partnership and clear-eyed recognition of the consequences of failing to do better.”
Among the key findings:
- A child born in a low-income country has an average life expectancy at birth of around 63 years, compared to 80 in a high-income country. This devastating 17-year survival gap has changed little over recent years.
- In 2020, 5 million children died even before the age of 5, mostly from preventable or treatable causes. Meanwhile, most maternal, child, and adolescent deaths and stillbirths are concentrated in just two regions – sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
- More than 45 million children had 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.
- The six countries with the highest numbers of internally displaced persons – Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen – are also among the top 10 food-insecure countries.
UNICEF emphasizes that “greater investments are needed in primary health care systems, in improving women’s and adolescents’ empowerment and life opportunities, and in addressing major crises such as growing food insecurity.”
From 2022-2024, Zonta International is investing in improving adolescent girls’ health and protection in Peru, protecting women and girls in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste from violence, enabling girls in Madagascar to learn in a safe and inclusive environment, and protecting the rights of millions of vulnerable girls and ending child marriage in 12 countries in Africa and Asia. Click here to learn more.
25 OCTOBER 2022