A Lancet commission global report has shown that Nigerian children are not flourishing well, ranking world’s last 10 in health, education, nutrition, equity and income gaps.
The report which has just been released is the finding of a 2018 commission project by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and The Lancet which aims to place children’s health and wellbeing at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Commission aimed to consider the ways in which governments, medical professionals, and society as a whole can accelerate progress on child health and wellbeing strategies in the context of the SDGs.
By the report, Nigerian children are placed in the bottom 10 in performance on child flourishing index and only scored higher than Guinea, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Tchad and Central African Republic.
By the new report A Future for the World’s Children?, Nigeria ranks 174 position among 180 countries of the world which were placed on the global study.
According to the The Lancet Commission, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan performed better in child flourishing index than Nigeria.
The ten leading countries of the world where living is very conducive and where children can flourish very well to achieve their full potentials include: Norway, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, France, Ireland, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, Iceland and United Kingdom in the order.
Children in Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, while those from Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds.
According to the finding of the report, 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.
From the report however, no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.
For instance the ten top countries on the sustainability index which have very low level of harmful emissions into the environment are: Burundi, Chad, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Malawi, Rwanda, Mali, Niger and Madagscar.
Whereas the ten most industrial nations with highest level of carbon emission that pose threat to future children, compared with child flourishing rank are: Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, USA, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait Trinidad and Tobago and Qatar.
UNICEF Nigeria Representative a.i.Claes Johansson, notes, “This demonstrates how far we still need to go in Nigeria to ensure 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,”
A manifesto for immediate action on child and adolescent health
To protect children, the independent Commission’s authors called for a new global movement driven by and for children. Specific recommendations include:
Stop CO2 emissions with the utmost urgency, to ensure children have a future on this planet
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