Monday, December 6, 2010

UNICEF Reaffirms Commitment in the Fight Against Child Rights

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA(MB)- UNICEF Communication Specialist, Sally Sadie Singhateh on friday presided over the Commemoration of this year's World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, where she renewed UNICEF'S commitment in the fight  against the abuse of the child Rights.
The Commemoration was held at the Brikama College Campus in West Coast Region and was well attended by Muslim scholars, Christians, school children, press amongst others. 
In her statement on behalf of UNICEF, Sally Sadie Singhateh said that UNICEF will continue to create, and nurture an enabling environment with none discriminatory social and political structure that put the children at higher risks, in particular the younger ones. 
According to her, World Leaders adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration in 2002, in order to hasten progress effectively in all critical areas of development as well as make the world a more equitable place. 
To achieve this, she maintained, they developed a series of time/ bound targets, which have become known as millennium Development Goals better known as the MDGs. 
She said two of these targets MGDs, focus on reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health, which is highlighted in the national theme for this year's World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.
According to the Communication Specialist, over the past ten years, much progress has been made in terms of Child health, particularly in the area of Immunization.
In-addition, UNICEF's 2010 flagship report, "Progress for children; Achieving the MDGs with Equity",  revealed that the lives of an estimated 2.5 million children under 5 years old are saved each year as a result of immunization for vaccine preventable disease. 
She however maintained that "Millions of children continue to die before the age five from preventable causes, including pneumonia and diarrhea, often made worse by malnutrition."
She went on, "the global under five mortality rate was estimate at 65 for every 1000 live births in 2008, " noting that the report further states that the highest rates of Mortality in children under five years, remain in sub Saharan Africa, where 1 in 7 children died before their fifth birthday.
She pointed out that, "more than half a million women die during childbirth or from complications during pregnancy, every year, and around 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, with over 90% of them in Africa," while quoting the UNICEFs 2007 state of the world children’s report. 
Sadie Singhateh maintained that the count down to 2015 report, have tracked maternal health and child health and assistance of skilled health personnel, saying that majority of them live in the sub Saharan Africa. 
This she pointed out, One out of every 16 Sub/Saharan African women will die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, compared to just 1 out of every 4,000 in industrialized countries. 
"It is important to note that a baby whose mother is alive has a greater chance of surviving than a baby whose mother died at childbirth."
 UNICEF Communication Specialist asked, how can we then reach the unreached ? , she continued " we need to ask ourselves, ladies and gentlemen, who these people are and why they are not being reached", then invest our time and resources to ensure that they too are reached".
According to her, it is important to highlight the fact that well being of, and access to services for children and women, is less determined by the country they live in and more by where they live in a country saying that universal access is what "we must strive to achieve", she urged.
"To ensure universal access, the government of The Gambia and Civil Society Organisations are working diligently to ensure that basic health and clinical services are taken to communities and families who might otherwise not have access to either, through outreach interventions".
She also applauded that faith based organizations and religions community have also shown strong commitment in the promoting of children and women’s health and rights through auspicious interventions like A world Day of prayer and Action for Children, where they seize the opportunity to come together of safeguard the integrity, rights and dignity of children and women, promote their survival, development, and well being.
Concluding, she reaffirm that UNICEF works closely with the government on community interventions such as Immunizations and de worming while supporting the development of policies for better health and social services for children and women living in the Gambia as they will continue to provide, and strengthen their support to the government and partners to ensure that the health and well being of children and women are improved.
Speaking earlier on at the occasion, the governor of West Coast Region Lamin Sanneh said, "this day has been honoured to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Convention on the rights of children which is conjunction with the friendly protocols such as the millennium Development Goals".
Indeed, he continued, the decision made to offer prayers for the children of the world closely the Gambia is really timely and augur down in our traditional settings. 
Children, governor said "are our feature leaders they are our hopes, they are the country’s valuable assets therefore they deserve all protections they want especially with this complex generation", he said.
In the Gambia, he observed, such ceremonies have been celebrated as it another stock taking of some of the unfolding events that has happened in other countries, citing SOWETO in South Africa as an example. 
To peace in the world, his believes is that the most powerful instrument that can help us to quickly get to that is to offer prayers. Acknowledging that all religious leaders in their sermon do pray for the country, the children in particular, hence in religion it is said that the strongest weapon is prayers. 
Governor Sanneh revealed that many children are victims of rape, torture, child trafficking, drug abuse amongst other crimes in today's generation.
As he puts it, " if this trend continues it will be difficult to achieve the Gambia's objective of poverty reduction as well as the MGDs.
Therefore, his advice was, to be fervent to be steadfast in continuous prayers for the children.

1 comment:

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