• ‘THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2016’ is brought out by United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
  • Each year, UNICEF’s this flagship publication, closely examines a key issue affecting children. The report includes supporting data and statistics.
  • The publication of the 1982–1983 The State of the World’s Children report marked the start of the child survival revolution.
  • The 2016 report has the theme ‘A fair chance for every child’.
  • Certain key health indicators of India in comparison to some developing countries including Bhutan and Sri Lanka are mentioned in the report.

Report’s recommendations

The UNICEF report calls for putting the most vulnerable women and children at the centre of national policies aimed at reducing disparities in child survival and ensuring child and maternal well-being.

  • It calls for fundamental changes in how child and maternal health services are financed and delivered.
  • Preventing child and maternal deaths can be a huge investment, but this investment can yield high returns.
  • Investment packages for 74 high-mortality countries would cost about US$30 billion in additional annual spending. This package would cover maternal and newborn health, child health, immunisation, nutrition, family planning, HIV/AIDS and malaria.
  • This investment would avert an estimated 147 million child deaths, 32 million stillborn deaths and 5 million maternal deaths by 2035.

According to the report, strategies to deliver universal and quality health care by 2030 needs to consider two related goals: expanding coverage and narrowing equity gaps. Coverage rates for the poorest 20 per cent of the population must increase fast to reach universal coverage.

In the domain of child nutrition, the report highlights 10 proven interventions with the potential to prevent 900,000 under-five deaths in 34 high-burden countries. The interventions range from treatment of acute malnutrition to breastfeeding and zinc supplementation. The report also mentions that the additional annual cost of scaling up existing nutrition coverage to fulfil 90 per cent of the need in the 34 countries would be about $9.6 billion.

By 2035, the world will need an additional 12.9 million health workers. Even today, sub-Saharan Africa has a health worker deficit of 1.8 million. The figure will rise to 4.3 million over the next 20 years if a concerted effort is not given. In the end, the report calls for stepping up multilateral partnerships to broaden and deepen cooperation to “achieve universal health coverage and equitable, quality care for children and their mothers”.

Leave a Reply