Rights, justice, and equity: a global agenda for child health and wellbeing

14 December, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

I congratulate Jeffrey L Goldhagen, Tony Waterston (lead moderator of our child health forum CHIFA) and co-authors for this hugely important new paper in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.

I invite you to join CHIFA to discuss the implications and ways forward:

www.hifa.org/joinchifa

CITATION: Viewpoint| volume 4, issue 1, p80-90, january 01, 2020

Rights, justice, and equity: a global agenda for child health and wellbeing

Jeffrey L Goldhagen et al.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(19)30346-3

SUMMARY

Worldwide challenges to child health and wellbeing are rapidly becoming existential threats to children and childhood. Inequities, armed conflict and violence, nuclear proliferation, forced migration, globalisation, and climate change are among the global issues violating children's rights to optimal survival and development. Child rights-based approaches will be required to enhance the response to the civil-political, social, economic, and cultural determinants of these global child health issues. In this Viewpoint, we present a global agenda for child health and wellbeing as a blueprint for the practice of paediatrics and child health in the domains of clinical care, systems development, and policy formulation. This global agenda is grounded in the principles of rights, justice, and equity and can address the root-cause determinants of health. The 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a relevant moment to recommit to shared goals for children's health and wellbeing.

KEY MESSAGES

- Children and childhood are confronting global existential threats to their existence. Inequities, armed conflict and violence, globalisation, nuclear proliferation, forced migration, and climate change are among the growing number of global threats to children and childhood.

- A child rights-based approach to child survival, health, and wellbeing—grounded in the principles, standards, and norms of child rights, social justice, and health equity—is required to respond to these global threats. Although traditional biomedical approaches are necessary, they are not sufficient to respond to these threats.

- A child rights-based approach to global child health and wellbeing establishes all paediatric health professionals working in the domains of clinical and public health services, systems development, and policy formulation as advocates (duty bearers) to fulfil the rights of all children (rights owners).

- Existing and evolving strategies and tools based on rights, justice, and equity provide the resources and experience required to implement and sustain a global child rights-based approach to address the threats and challenges confronting children.

- Nations are embracing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals as the foundation and framework for global child health and development, and it is important that child health professionals and organisations respond through the implementation of a child rights-based approach to health and development.

- Translating the global agenda and principles of rights, justice, and equity into practice will establish child health professionals as essential global partners in fulfilling the rights of children to optimal health and development.

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org