By Raisa Okwaras
A new health report dubbed The State of Child Health report has named New Zealand as one of the worst places in the developed world to be a child.
This came in after the study found the western country with sky-high records of diseases very rare in such rich countries and common in resource-poor countries of the world.
The report, which was published on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, was conducted by Cure Kids- a research organization that funds child-centered health research. Findings include high rates of skin infections, respiratory diseases, dental diseases, and rheumatic fever among children being higher than the same in similar resource-rich countries. Also, these diseases are predominant in poverty-stricken areas like Maori or the Pacific ethnicity.
According to the country’s Children’s Commissioner Judge Frances Eivers, such health conditions in children could lead to long-term effects.
“Many of our young children start accumulating health issues from their very first days, and by the time they are young adults, they are carrying a heavy burden of disease. The burden is not equally spread. Almost a third of our children bear the brunt of health conditions, and therefore experience significant disadvantage, often along with social and economic deprivation, which is clearly shown to be associated with poor health,” he said in an official statement.
Some of the variations include hospitalization rates, where children in the Pacific ethnicities were 140 times more affected than New Zealand children of either European or other backgrounds. Yet, the Maori children’s hospitalization rate was five times higher.
The report also stated that children in the poorer areas were 3-times more likely to have tooth extractions compared to those from wealthier areas.
According to top Economists and experts in New Zealand, one of the primary causes for the same is the rising costs of living in the country. For instance, 10 percent of children in New Zealand live in material poverty, with about 14.286 percent of children living in income poverty.
“Child health is exquisitely sensitive to poverty. Investments in frontline healthcare services should be coupled with investments to reduce child poverty, which is a major driver of worse child health and developmental outcomes,” wrote the CPAG in one recent report.
Back home, UNICEF 2018 report shows that about 41.5 percent of children in Kenya live below the national poverty line.
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