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MCH News. 1999 May; (11):3-5.The care and protection of children is a practice and ethic rooted deep in the wisdom and culture of all societies’, wrote James P Grant, the previous executive director of UNICEF. He was referring to a deep and universal—but often neglected—knowledge that children are vulnerable. Their situation is closely linked to poverty, and more closely related to social inequality than to general economic hardship. Under apartheid, South African children were exposed to gross human rights violations such as detention and shooting. But the less dramatic, more pervasive, violations of apartheid—such as racial exclusion from most of the land and the economy, and discrimination in health care and education—ultimately did more harm. These ‘softer’ violations have left today’s children with an historical disadvantage as a result of social inequity, underdevelopment and poverty. About 61% of South African children live in poverty and, since families with large numbers of children are more likely to be poor, a disproportionate number live in poor households. (excerpt)
MCH News. 1999 May; (11):6-7.All rights apply to all children without exception, and the State must protect children from any form of discrimination. The State must not violate any right, and must take positive action to promote rights. All actions concerning children should take full account of their best interests. The State is to provide adequate care when parents or others responsible fail to do so. The State must translate the rights in the Convention into reality. The State must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and the wider family to provide guidance appropriate to the child's evolving capacities. (excerpt)
Exclusion, inequity and health system development: the critical emphases for maternal, neonatal and child health [editorial]
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2005 Jun; 83(6):402.The World health report 2005 provides a powerful analysis of the global scandal of mothers’ and children’s ill-health (1). Every year, over half a million women die from pregnancy-related causes and over 10 million children die under five years of age. These deaths are largely preventable. The report correctly identifies the causes as lying primarily in failures within health systems to provide appropriate frameworks and resources to deliver the technical interventions, and in broader social and cultural factors. Evidence on technical interventions is well covered. Midwifery-led care at the first level of services, with accessible back-up in hospitals, is essential for reducing maternal and neonatal mortality. The report is crystal clear on this, acknowledging past failures of training traditional birth attendants and problems of over-medicalization of childbirth. Universal access, both financial and geographical, to care by skilled attendants is emphasized, although a description of the requirements of referral systems to ensure timely access to obstetric care would have been helpful. Issues too often ignored are included: violence, discrimination and marginalization during pregnancy, sex selection, and the need for evidence to develop policy on postpartum care. (excerpt)
Paris, France, UNESCO, 2004. 30 p.This paper uses a framework for quality education developed by UNESCO’s Education Sector, Division for the Promotion of Quality Education (ED/PEQ) to show how education systems can and must change in their analysis and conduct in relation to HIV/AIDS. It summarises the 10 dimensions of the framework, considers how HIV/AIDS manifests itself in relation to these quality dimensions and summarises some practical applications of how education has responded and can respond to the pandemic from a quality perspective. A more detailed annex to the paper provides evidence on the manifestations of the pandemic on education systems, and how systems have responded in practical ways. Some general conclusions are drawn and a final section promotes some practical and strategic actions in support of quality education that reflects and responds to HIV/AIDS. The paper was developed for the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on HIV and Education. The IATT is convened by UNESCO and includes as members the UN co-sponsoring agencies of UNAIDS, bi-lateral and private donors, and NGOs. The IATT focuses on mobilising commitment to prevention education, acting as a catalyst for the exchange of information about what is known, what is available, and what still needs to be known about how education can be most effective in mitigating the effects of the HIV/AIDS crisis. It seeks to examine and strengthen existing tools for monitoring and evaluating education systems’ responses to the crisis, identify weaknesses in these responses and overcome these weaknesses, analyse what is known to strengthen information and materials exchange, and stimulate research and evidence-based policy-making. (excerpt)
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2004.  p.The WHO Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (CAH) promotes the survival, health, growth and development of children and adolescents from birth up to 19 years. The structure of the Department, and its guiding principles, are intended to support progress towards this goal. CAH is organized into four teams, three of which address research and development across the life-course – neonatal and infant health and development, child health and development, and adolescent health and development. The fourth team provides technical support to partners, regions and countries. This structure allows the Department to apply a public health approach to health and development, within a lifecourse framework. CAH activities follow a well-defined cycle: research; development of strategies, tools, standards and guidelines; and support for their introduction, monitoring and evaluation in countries. The approach ensures that countries are assisted in their efforts to implement interventions and strategies proven by research, and that experience of implementation stimulates and defines research and development priorities. This report highlights activities undertaken and progress made by CAH during the 2002–2003 biennium. It is organized according to the structure of the Department, with one chapter for each research and development team. Relevant technical support is described at the end of each chapter. Documents and articles published during the biennium are listed in the annexes. (excerpt)
SCN News. 2004 Jul; (28): p..This is a new SCN, with a new Chair and Secretary, and a record number of institutional members in three main categories: UN agencies, bilateral agencies, and NGOs. A fourth group, made up of leader from the private sector, would add further strength to the SCN. The SCN has a new mandate—to help the global system reach the MDGs. The SCN can make a significant start by agreeing on specific issues and actions that will contribute to reaching the MDGs as defined by the UN system. The SCN and its members already have a head start; two closely related and neglected global issues have been identified and should be given priority: timely and appropriate complementary feeding and the high prevalence of iron deficiency. The working groups and task forces will need to be active between SCN meetings and establish their own secretariats. In addition, the SCN should develop a strong communication and advocacy strategy and promote key SCN messages through outstanding public figures. Although the SCN and its members have effectively focused on some of the MDGs, it should now be making contributions to achieving all of them. I am confident that the new SCN and its Secretariat will implement the multiple mechanisms available to help the UN system and its partners meet this global challenge. (excerpt)
Global HealthLink. 2001 Jul-Aug; (110):2.The United Nations has just held its first-ever General Assembly special session dedicated to a health issue: HIV/AIDS. It’s about time. After years of denial and delay, the world is finally beginning to confront the burgeoning crisis of AIDS. The political commitment and massive infusion of resources that the public health community has called for over the past decade—the same resources that would be taken for granted in a more traditional war—are finally a real possibility. But we must remind these leaders that global health is a multi-front war. Other health challenges tend to fall into the shadows when a particularly frightening enemy like AIDS is in the spotlight. Let us not lose sight of the broader picture that will define the state of humankind in the 21st century. In particular, let us return the world’s attention to the health and survival of children. (excerpt)
Global HealthLink. 2001 Jul-Aug; (110):7.The United Nations General Assembly will convene a Special Session on Children Sept. 19-21 in New York City. At this decade-review of the goals set at the 1990 World Summit for Children, world leaders will come together to discuss the progress that has been made and the work that still remains in assuring child health and survival. A new plan of action to be followed globally will help to ensure the improvement of the health of children around the world. Organizations focusing on a wide variety of children’s issues will be involved in the special session both directly and indirectly. Although most groups will not be represented in their own country’s delegation, there are many actions that nonprofit and private voluntary organizations can take to affect the outcomes of the meeting and consequently make a difference in the lives of children worldwide. (excerpt)
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. A young person's guide.
London, England, International Planned Parenthood Federation [IPPF], .  p.You should be given wide-ranging and easy to understand information on sexual and reproductive issues that will let you feel comfortable with yourself, your body and your sexuality. This information should enable you to make your own decisions about your sexual and reproductive health. You should be given this information without being judged or being made to feel embarrassed or guilty. Everyone has the right to receive an education. You should not be denied education simply because you are a girl, are poor or have a disability. If you become pregnant or have children you still have the right to go to school. (excerpt)
Nutrition and health policy in women and children. Report on a WHO workshop, Yerevan, Armenia, 2-5 July 1997.
Copenhagen, Denmark, WHO, Regional Office for Europe, 1998. , 30 p. (EUR/ARM/LVNG 02 01 11)A child's right to adequate nourishment, and the duty of society to ensure that a pregnant woman has access to good nutrition, have been matters of concern for over a century. Yet even in the 1990s, babies are still at risk of undernutrition before birth. Recent years have seen increasing evidence of the importance of nutrition for a satisfactory birth outcome. The Workshop was designed for health facility administrators, policy-makers and clinicians interested in nutrition and how food affects the health of women and infants, and was attended by gynaecologists/obstetricians, paediatricians and hygienists working in the saneped system. On the first day a short course for administrators and policy-makers on "Promoting breastfeeding in sanitary facilities" was held, and during the following three days the WHO/UNICEF training module on "Healthy eating in pregnancy and lactation" was pilot tested. Participants gained knowledge on providing health advice for women during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period with a view to promoting WHO guidelines on healthy eating. The Workshop contributed to developing a national plan of action for Armenia to implement national dietary guidelines for pregnant and lactating women and their families. (author's)
Efficacy of chloroquine, amodiaquine, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and combination therapy with artesunate in Mozambican children with non-complicated malaria.
Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2004 Feb; 9(2):200-208.This paper reports a two-phase study in Manhic¸a district, Mozambique: first we assessed the clinical efficacy and parasitological response of Plasmodium falciparum to chloroquine (CQ), sulphadoxine– pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ), then we tested the safety and efficacy in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, of three combinations: AQ + SP, artesunate (AR) + SP and AQ + AR. Based on the WHO (1996, WHO/MAL/96.1077) in vivo protocol, we conducted two open, randomized, clinical trials. Children aged 6–59 months with axillary body temperature =37.5 degrees C and noncomplicated malaria were randomly allocated to treatment groups and followed up for 21 days (first and second trial) and 28 days (first trial). The therapeutic efficacy of AQ (91.6%) was better than that of SP (82.7%) and CQ (47.1%). After 14 days, 69% of the strains were parasitologically resistant to CQ, 21.4% to SP and 26% to AQ. Co-administration of AQ + SP, AR + SP and AQ + AR was safe and had 100% clinical efficacy at 14-day follow-up. The combination therapies affected rapid fever clearance time and reduced the incidence of gametocytaemia during follow-up. (author's)
Perspectives in Health. 2003; 8(2):15-21.Andean ministers of health meeting last April proposed an Andean vaccination week. The idea was soon expanded to include South America and later Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Eventually 19 countries joined together for the first Vaccination Week in the Americas. The focus was on children who had never been vaccinated: those in hard-to-reach rural areas or marginal urban zones whom earlier campaigns had left behind. (excerpt)
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 2003 Aug 30; 327:466.The World Health Organization has relaunched a 15 year old campaign to eradicate poliomyelitis after missing its original goal of 2000 because of armed conflicts, insufficient funding, and lack of government commitment in some regions. (excerpt)
Building a world fit for children. The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children, 8-10 May 2002.
New York, New York, UNICEF, 2003 Apr. 23 p.Inspired by the passion and vision of these young people, the General Assembly reached agreement on ‘A World Fit for Children’, a rigorous plan for promoting healthy lives, providing quality basic education, combating HIV/AIDS and protecting children from abuse, exploitation and violence – in short, a plan for building a world truly fit for all children. The document provides time-bound commitments, reinforces the Millennium Development Goals and endorses the nearly 95 million Say Yes for Children pledges generated by the Global Movement for Children (GMC) around the world. (excerpt)
Nairobi, Kenya, IRIN, 2003 Aug 5. 2 p.Obasanjo, who unveiled the new policy in the capital Abuja on Monday, said all elected officials and civil servants had a duty to be active in the fight against HIV/AIDS, so that their example would permeate the entire population of more than 120 million people. The president said appropriate measures would be designed to address the vulnerability of women and children to the scourge which has infected more than three million Nigerians, including 800,000 children. He said the new policy would lead to the drafting of a new law to protect the civil rights of those affected by HIV/AIDS. It would also encourage the provision of support and care for people affected by HIV/AIDS. (excerpt)