A Child's Right to Health
It has been more than a quarter of a century since the introduction of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (“Convention”) – an international treaty recognizing the human rights of children. It asserts that all children – without discrimination in any form – benefit from special protection measures and assistance; have access to services such as education and health care; can develop their personalities, abilities and talents to the fullest potential; grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding; and are informed about and participate in, achieving their rights in an accessible and active manner (UNICEF).
The international community, in its near universal ratification of the Convention, has shown a clear commitment to upholding and protecting the rights of the child, however, when it comes to addressing NCDs, children are too frequently left off (or insufficiently acknowledged) in the actual policies which affect their well-being. NCD Child aims to link the intents of the Convention directly to its mission of advocating the prevention, management, and treatment of NCDs in young people.
To achieve this ‘highest attainable standard of health,’ countries have committed to working towards five specific goals.
All the commitments have a direct or secondary relationship to addressing NCDs in children, made more evident when taking a life-course approach to child wellness. It starts with ensuring a healthy pregnancy for women, offering immunizations (like Hepatitis B) and metabolic screening at birth, fostering healthy habits throughout adolescence, and guaranteeing consistent, quality access to health care throughout childhood.
The Convention also includes additional articles related to both NCDs and the empowerment of young people in decision making (Article 12). Violence, disabilities, education, play, and drug abuse -- all issues which can shape a child’s early years and into adulthood, are raised in the Convention. NCD Child is committed to elevating the rights of children living with or affected by NCDs through direct advocacy to governments, civil society, and other key stakeholders.