Photo credit: Athletics Africa - Photo: 2021

Make 2021 A Fairer, Safer, Healthier World for Children

By Caroline Mwanga

NEW YORK (IDN) – More than 371,500 children would be born on the first day of 2021, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The agency’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore said on the eve of the New Year day: “The children born today enter a world far different than even a year ago, and a New Year brings a new opportunity to reimagine it.”

Expectedly, the Pacific island nation of Fiji will welcome the first baby of the new year and the United States the last one.

Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in 10 countries: India (59,995), China (35,615), Nigeria (21,439), Pakistan (14,161), Indonesia (12,336), Ethiopia (12,006), the United States (10,312), Egypt (9,455), Bangladesh (9,236) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (8,640).

In total, an estimated 140 million children will be born in 2021. Their average life expectancy is expected to be 84 years.

The year will also mark the 75th anniversary of UNICEF. Over the course of 2021, UNICEF and its partners will be commemorating the milestone anniversary with events and announcements celebrating three-quarters of a century of protecting children from conflict, disease and exclusion, and championing their right to survival, health and education. 

“Children born today will inherit the world we begin to build for them today”, reminded the UNICEF chief. “Let us make 2021 the year we start to build a fairer, safer, healthier world for children”, she added.

Meanwhile, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to soar, so do the needs of children and their families, the UN agency said.

From delivering life-saving health supplies, to building water and hygiene facilities, to keeping girls and boys connected to education and protection, UNICEF is working to slow the spread of the pandemic and minimize its impact on children worldwide.  [IDN-InDepthNews – 01 January 2021]

Photo: Midwife lifts one of the very first babies born in Mali in 2020 at a Health Center in Segou, central Mali. © UNICEF/Seyba Keïta

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