300 mln children trapped in poverty in S Asia: UNICEF

DHAKA, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) — New data unveiled by the United Nations’ children agency Sunday showed that 300 million children are trapped in poverty in South Asia — almost half of the children in the region.

    The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) presented the new data at a regional conference in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Sunday while convening leaders of the region to explore new ways for addressing children’s seven basic needs, including food, education and health.

unicef3-food

In pictures: Feeding the world

    “We now have a better understanding of the real depth of how poverty affects children — not just as a side effect of their parents’ income but their own profound deprivation,” said UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Daniel Toole, while speaking at the conference.

    “Unlike any other region in the world, due to persistent and deep inequalities in the region, children in South Asia become trapped in an unrelenting cycle of discrimination at several levels– poor nutrition, health and sanitation and being excluded from education,” he said in the conference styled “Achieving Child Well-being and Equity in South Asia.”

    This puts a child’s face to chronic poverty so we can now design more strategic policies, he added.

    UNICEF, on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence, is proposing that a shift in the definition of poverty needs to take place — away from a narrow measurement that addresses income exclusively to a definition that includes income poverty, deprivation and well-being, said a paper provided by the UNICEF.

    It said this approach can result in comprehensive policy responses that target a more holistic approach to achieving children’s well-being.

    In the first day of the three-day conference, the government officials, the UNICEF and the civil society of South Asia region examined ways of using this new approach to pinpoint efforts to tackle child poverty.

    Delegates as well as government officials, academics, and other groups working to eliminate child poverty from the region, representatives from UNICEF and other U.N. agencies and development partners from across South Asia are attending the conference which will close Nov. 3.

    Over the past decade, the UNICEF said child poverty rates in South Asia have stagnated or even worsened in some areas, raising grave concerns about children’s well-being.

    “Investing in children is both a fundamental responsibility and an opportunity that, if not grabbed now, will tarnish a nation’s growth,” Toole said in his speech.

    He said this is a responsibility because poverty and under-nutrition damages a child’s chance to thrive and also hampers the potential of countries to develop.

    More than other interventions, investing resources into good nutrition, primary health care, education and protection for children will provide rich rewards in future, Toole said.

    According to the UNICEF paper, key interventions that require investment include scaling-up national programs on nutrition and associated health interventions, including community-based management of acute malnutrition, newborn and maternal health initiatives.

    It said support to basic health services through childhood, youth and early adulthood for women, as well as improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene and education are also required.

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Momento 24 – Unicef says 606 babies born into poverty each day

According to the United Nations Fund for Children (Unicef), based on 2007 figures provided by the Government, in Argentina 606 babies are born poor every day. More precisely, the organization said that in the country 1920 children are born per day, 31.6%  of them are born into poor households.”

Babies with Poverty

Babies with Poverty

However, statistics from Unicef are not endorsed by all. For instance, Sergio Britos, a professor at the School of Nutrition of Buenos Aires University (UBA) and director of the Center for Research on Child Nutrition (Cesni), noted: “according to our calculations, based on a 30%  of poverty in Argentina, and given that the maternal and child poverty is higher than the average, in Argentina about 950 babies are born poor each day. “

Edgardo Trivisonno, a former assistant secretary of Community Health in Buenos Aires City, provides more details: “Pathetic but true: 25 children born in Argentina each day will never reach  a year of life, 30 will not reach  5 and if they survive, will be sentenced to a life of deprivations, such as food, clothing, education, leisure, etc..”

By Momento 24