News / Africa

Study: African Children's Well-Being Improved, but Still Inadequate

Children play soccer in Maputo, Mozambique, Nov.16, 2013.
Children play soccer in Maputo, Mozambique, Nov.16, 2013.
Marthe van der Wolf
Africa has become a better place for children in recent years, but more investments are needed in health and education to further improve the lives of African children, according to a new study of the African Child Policy Forum.

The African Report on Child Well-being 2013, says conditions for children on the African continent improved in the last five years, mostly because of recent achievements in increasing the survival rate of children, reducing infant mortality and improved access to water and sanitation.

Mauritius, South Africa and Tunisia top the list of the 52 investigated African countries in the report launched by the African Child Policy Forum. They put in place national laws that protect children from violence and maltreatment.   That resulted in better outcomes for children in those countries.

But executive director of the African Child Policy Forum Theophane Nikyeme says that despite the improvements, the continent is still facing serious challenges when it comes to providing basic needs for children.

“What they need is an environment in which they can grow in freedom. Where their basic needs will be satisfied," said Nikyeme. "Where they can go to school and get proper education. They could go to a health service not  from their home, not having to go through kilometers to reach their clinic.  Being able to go to school all the way to university if they want to do so.”

Many children in Africa still die from preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition. While African governments committed to spend 15 percent of their budget on health, on average only 11 percent is spent.

The worst places for children to grow up are unstable and fragile countries such as the Central African Republic, Chad and Eritrea.

The report focuses on 44 indicators such as a government's provision for children's basic needs and the participation of children in decisions that affect them.

Countries with low GDP such as Rwanda and Malawi scored higher than countries with a relatively higher GDP such as Namibia and Equatorial Guinea.

Nikyeme says the report shows that a child's well-being does not necessarily depend on a country's wealth, but on the government’s commitment:

“What we are advocating for, is for governments, when they ratify a law or a treaty at the international level or regional level, they should go back to harmonize it to the national laws. But this is not happening,” said Nikyeme.

The first report on child well-being in Africa was done in 2008. While the overall well-being of children seems to have improved, the report calls upon African governments to increase investments in education, health and social protection. The African Child Forum Policy also urges African countries to enhance accountability and good governance so that the recent economic growth on the continent should translate into concrete results.

Somalia, South Sudan and Western Sahara were not included in the report because of a lack of reliable data.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid