The UNICEF Country Representative and United Nations Resident Coordinator, Sara Beysolow Nyanti, asserted that The Gambia has some of the best health system indicators in sub-Saharan Africa, citing immunisation coverage, which exceeds 90% as an example.
The UN Resident Coordinator was speaking on Friday during the launching of the State of the World’s Children Report, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
This year’s report, entitled, ‘Reimagining the Future: Innovation for every child’, examines how innovation has been the driving force for much of the progress made for children since the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) came into force in 1989, more than 25 years ago. It demonstrates that communities, entrepreneurs and young people can push the boundaries of what is possible and come up with local solutions that can have a global impact on the lives of the children.
The UN Resident Coordinator explained that equity does not only come to bear in targeting of children and their families, but it is required at every stage of development, with a special emphasis on equity in budgeting and finance.
She noted that if the world must innovate for children and ensure that each child has access to his or her rights then the first step is to ensure that fiscal space is created to support such actions.
In The Gambia, Madam Nyanti went on, many gains have been made in giving all children fair chances at life and ensuring equity as well. According to her, across all the regions of The Gambia, both girls and boys, rich and poor have access to primary school education.
She added that children now have cleaner environments across the country with only 2% of the population still openly defecating. “That means around 98% of Gambians have improved their sanitation. This is excellent.”
However, she pointed out that despite the gains being made, there are still challenges in some sectors. “Although we have high immunisation rates in The Gambia, we find that immunisation in the urban areas is dropping to as low as 58%. We have focused so much on rural that urban is now losing gains. Children in both urban and rural areas require attention all the time, and that is what the equity agenda is saying.”
Madam Nyanti went on to indicate that 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encompass key areas of intervention that directly impact on the rights and well-being of children and therefore create an excellent opportunity for all development partners working in child rights promotion to engage strategically in responding to children’s needs and monitoring progress for children.