Press release of the Paediatric Association of Nigeria on the occasion of the World Children’s Day, 2023.
Theme; ‘Investing in our future means investing in our children’
Our world has never been as populated with as many children as it is today. It is focused on climate neutrality and sustainability of the environment for the coming generations while not paying enough attention to the immediate care of our children. On this Children’s Day, the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) reminds the World that investment in space technology, climate change, supersonic missiles, and artificial intelligence is of no use if we do not equally invest in our children.
As we celebrate the Nigerian child today, we appreciate the efforts of parents, Nigerian government at all levels, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, and the society at large, in working towards the growth and development of the Nigerian child. Notwithstanding, the average Nigerian child is still in a precarious situation. They bear the brunt of the economic downturns occasioned by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrests, natural disasters, insecurity, and mismanagement of our nation’s resources. Consequently, the Nigerian child continues to suffer from vicious cycle of extreme poverty, inequality, and disease. A significant number still remains partially or even non-immunised at all. In addition to the unacceptable numbers of children who die every second in Nigeria, psychosocial effects of social media misuse, child abuse and neglect remain rampant. On this special day, we want to especially thank parents (including fathers) for their love, care, and sacrifice. We urge for the continued support of fathers in the care, protection and upbringing of children. This investment in our children is the best for our individual and collective future.
Investing in children requires multi-stakeholder dialogue as well as an integrated approach, pulling the different policy strands together to address the root-causes of the problems of children. We therefore call on all stakeholders to recommit to reinforcing child protection mechanisms through the passage and domestication the child’s rights act by all governments in Nigeria, to facilitate learning for every child (including the girl child) in both formal and informal settings, to reach every child with basic shelter, healthcare including timely immunisation against diseases, clothing, portable water, and nutritious food. Specifically, we call on the Nigerian government to as a matter of urgency revive the school health program and utilise it to reach every child with basic nutrition and immunisation for optimal growth and development.
Every Nigerian child is an asset, resilient, talented, and with great aspirations for a great future. It is, therefore, our responsibility to give every Nigerian child the opportunity to grow into an adult that will be useful to himself and the society. Again, the success of our tomorrow lies in the universal quality health, universal quality basic education, and end to hunger for every child. Finally, we want to remind our society that a child belongs to everyone and everybody and no child should be left behind regardless of his/her socio-economic background.
Prof. Olufemi Ogunrinde President, Paediatric Association of Nigeria