Human rights are still merely an abstract concept for millions of women, children, and adolescents – and for our youngest progress is often defined as simply a question of survival. Now the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT) and The Swedish Society of Medicine are launching a road map for global child health, emphasizing progress as the next generation’s right to thrive – placing children firmly at the centre of UN’s 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable development.
According to the road map Placing children at the centre of the sustainable development goals, survival is a poor benchmark for ensuring the wellbeing of the next generation. These children and adolescents need to be able to thrive, empowered with sufficient resilience facing global challenges such as climate change, conflict-forced migration, and an evolving burden of non-communicable disease.
The road map is calling for a transformative agenda of child-centred development. According to the authors a lasting progress on child and adolescent health demands harnessing the synergies of the SDGs.
The road map identifies and focuses on five main leverage points:
1. Redefining global child health in the post-2015 era: placing children at the centre of the SDGs through a life-course perspective
A compelling new narrative recognising children and adolescents as both initiator and beneficiaries of development by placing them at the centre of the SDGs will increase the relevance of the SDG framework.
2. Striving for equity: ensuring no child is left behind
Investment in interventions proven to reduce morbidity and mortality must be supported by continuous scientific and contextual evaluation of their impact, including age and sex-aggregated data, to ensure no child or adolescent is left behind.
3. Enabling a child’s right to thrive throughout life
Transforming the perception of the child, from a medical to a holistic and relational perspective, acknowledges the unique rights children have from birth.
4. Bridging the “know-do gap”: facilitating informed policy-making and implementation
Expanding translational research programmes and implementation research that engage and build capacity within local communities play a vital role in combating emerging global health challenges.
5. Capitalising on interlinkages within the SDGs to galvanise multisectoral action
Identifying and capitalising on interconnections within and between the SDGs and their convergence on the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents is fundamental for promoting effective multi-sectoral partnerships that strengthen the sustainability and resilience of health and social systems. Understanding the nature of these interlinkages will be instrumental.
Placing children and adolescents at the centre of the SDGs will ensure their right to survive and thrive throughout the life-course, as the true beneficiaries of the 2030 Agenda.
Note for Editors:
The road map is available at: https://sightnu.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/global_halsa_child.pdf
The writing group: Tobias Alfvén, Johan Dahlstrand, David Humphreys, Daniel Helldén, Sofia Hammarstrand, Anna-Clara Hollander, Mats Målqvist, Sahar Nejat and Peter Søgaard Jørgensen
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