Finding the key to unlock Child Health Rights

Nisha Yadav

Children are the weakest element of the society, both physically and socially. They need special care and protection on account of their tender age and immature mind. To facilitate that purpose they are provided certain special rights and legal entitlements that are being acknowledged nationally and internationally.
 Under international human rights law, children are entitled “to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.” This right is articulated in Article 24 of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). 
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly, on 20 November 1989, adopted this landmark that recognises children as human beings who are more than just ‘passive objects of care and charity’ and are entitled to the enjoyment of a distinct set of rights in accordance with their specific needs. The key rights provided by the CRC suggests as many steps to ensure the Health of children across the globe and are immensely ratified in nation like ours.

Birth Registration, is one such mandatory step to ensure a permanent and official record of a child’s existence. The child who is not registered at birth is in danger of being denied the right to an official identity, a recognised name. As per the UNICEF report, In India, an estimated 26 million children are born every year of which about 10 million go unregistered. An unregistered child will be a more attractive target for child trafficking and does not have even the minimal protection that a birth certificate provides against early marriage, child labour, or detention and persecution as an adult.

In world report on child injury prevention provided by a joint efforts of WHO and UNICEF, everyday more than 2000 children die from an injury which could have been protected. The report presents the knowledge about the five most important causes of unintentional injury- road traffic injuries, drowning, burns, falls and poisoning.
The environment surrounding a child plays a vital role in determining its future. In developing countries like ours, adverse environmental conditions and pollution are a major contributor to childhood deaths, illnesses and disability.  In 2012, 1.7 millions deaths in children under five were estimated due to respiratory infections, diarrhoea, neonatal conditions and malaria. Environmental risks that children are particularly vulnerable to include air pollution, inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, hazardous chemicals and wastes, radiation, climate change as well as emerging threats like e-waste. Reducing environmental risks could prevent 1 in 4 child deaths.
 A UN report states that more women and their children are surviving today than ever before. Still, the new estimates reveal that 6.3 million children under 15 years died in 2017 and the vast majority of these deaths – 5.4 million – occurred in the first 5 years of life, with new-borns accounting for around half.
With all these records it can be understood that the health of children is a product of complex, dynamic processes produced by the interaction of external influences, such as children’s family, social, and physical environments, and their genes, biology, and behaviours. Organisations like WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO are accommodating the need of child health in every possible direction. The mass awareness on child health rights will be a sum up of these notions at work. The required amount of influence is proposed time-to-time and the coming years would be favoured by better results.

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