A new UN report shows that women’s and children’s health has suffered globally, as the impacts of conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change converge with devastating effects on prospects for children, young people and women.
Data presented in the report show a critical regression across virtually every major measure of childhood wellbeing, and many key indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since the last Every Woman Every Child Progress Report published in 2020, food insecurity, hunger, child marriage, risks from intimate partner violence, and adolescent depression and anxiety have all increased.
An estimated 25 million children were un- or under-vaccinated in 2021 – 6 million more than in 2019 - increasing their risk of contracting deadly and debilitating diseases. Millions of children missed out on school during the pandemic, many for more than a year, while approximately 80% of children in 104 countries and territories experienced learning-loss because of school closures. Since the start of the global pandemic, 10.5 million children lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19.
“At the core of our unkept promise is the failure to address the gaping inequities at the root of global crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to conflicts and the climate emergency. The report describes the impacts of these crises on women, children and adolescents, from maternal mortality to education losses to severe malnutrition,” said Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General.
The report provides wide-ranging evidence that children and adolescents face wildly divergent chances of leading a healthy life simply based on where they are born, their exposure to conflict, and the economic circumstances of their families.