1.What is the goal?
I will discuss the 3th one of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals : ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Since it is a big plan which contains many specific goals for people on different age levels, I will focus on ensuring children’s healthy lives in this blog. I will firstly list some representative goals for reader to better understand the theme.
- By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births;
- By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being;
- By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.
2.What has been achieved
During these years, more and more countries have paid attention to children’s health and have made great progress.
- Since 2000, measles vaccines have averted nearly 15.6 million deaths.
- Over 6.2 million malaria deaths have been averted between 2000 and 2015, primarily of children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. The global malaria incidence rate has fallen by an estimated 37 percent and the mortality rates by 58 percent.
- The total number of deaths of children under 5 years of age dropped from 9.8 million in 2000 to 5.4 million in 2017.
- In the past, diphtheria can cause hundreds of thousands of children’s diseases every year. After 2006, no cases of diphtheria have been reported in China.
Fig 2 (source: https://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/topics/child/zh/)
3.How to ensure children’s health?
There are many methods to improve children’s health condition. In my opinion, the public should at least focus on the following two aspects: vaccination and safety education.
The first one is ensuring all the children have access to some necessary vaccines to strengthen their health. A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular disease . The biological agent in vaccine can stimulate the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases . For instance, severe poliomyelitis patients will have muscle atrophy, dyskinesia, and even paralysis, which will bring great grief to children . Since 1995, China has blocked the spread of indigenous poliovirus through oral sugar pill vaccine, which has enabled thousands of children to avoid physical disability . According to national immunization program in China, by 2010, the vaccination rate of hepatitis B vaccine, BCG vaccine, polio vaccine, DPT vaccine and measles vaccine for school-age children have reached more than 90% in rural areas . And we can see that growing number of children are free from infectious diseases and its sequelae. Therefore, it is necessary to provide free and high-quality vaccine for children all over the world. At the same time, the government in all the countries should work with organizations like WHO to expand the vaccine popularization. Making sure that children even in remote villages can have access to basic healthcare such as vaccine, which could save their lives and prevent them from infectious diseases.
Fig 3 (source: http://www.sohu.com/a/191595228_785805)
The other one is enlarging the safety education about children. Sometimes, parents’ unsuitable behaviors might cause big mistakes and even disaster for children’s growth. For example, once a report showed that 90% of children once lived in house which had been decorated within half a year before they were diagnosed with leukemia [7, 8]. The indoor environmental pollution caused by decoration has become an important factor that endangers the health of infants and young children. Here, I will list some common sense about children healthcare. By teaching these knowledge to parents, children can be kept away from these hurts caused by misbehavior.
- Any medication for infants must follow the doctor’s advice. Many adult drugs can cause infant disability or even death;
- The babies within 10 months old is forbidden to be shaken their brain, which may cause cerebral hemorrhage and slight concussion;
- At any time, avoid facial mask to prevent asphyxia of newborn;
- When children encounter airway obstruction, do not drink water or eat food. These behaviors will make children’s situation worse;
- If the child is unconscious and vomiting, turning him sideways to avoid suffocation;
- After children being scratched by a dog, going to hospital in time and vaccinate against rabies.
4.What can we do?
Maintain your battling spirit at times of hardship, spread your words when success strolls. –Meng zi
Fig 4 (source: https://new.qq.com/omn/20180505/20180505A0KK3F.html)
During the time when we are not so rich, we could keep our own child or children around us free from potential dangers. Paying attention to their physical and mental health. For example, ensuring them all have access to necessary vaccines. Providing a suitable environment for them, including living condition, healthcare, education, balanced diet and so on. Besides, we can share our knowledge about healthcare with other people, which might prevent more children from mistakenly being hurt. Moreover, we can take donation to some charities, such as One Foundation, Han Hong Love Charity Foundation, and some international organizations.
During the time when you are wealthy and influential, it is possible to make contribution to the society. For instance, Bill Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and spent more than one billion dollars on charity events. In 2005, he donated about 750 million dollars to International Finance Facility for Immunization for vaccine research and spreading .
In a word, everyone can do his own contribution to achieve this goal.