MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - A devastating gap exists between the health rich and health poor in every country, contributing to the deaths of thousands of children every day, a report released today by World Vision finds. The aid and development organization is calling on Canada to take a global leadership role to close this gap as the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline nears and 19,000 children still die each day from mostly preventable causes.
The Killer Gap: A Global Index of Health Inequality for Children assesses 176 countries around the world according to the size of the gap between those who have access to good health and those who don't, based on four criteria. Canada is ranked 15th on the index, France is first, Chad is last. The report shows that it's for the most vulnerable women and children in developing countries—those in remote communities, unregistered and marginalized—that the "health gap" becomes the "killer gap".
"Globally, the number of children who don't reach their fifth birthday has dramatically decreased, but thousands still die every day after falling through the cracks created by the great health gap—most notably the determining factors are access to health education, awareness, prevention and treatment," says Shauna Kadyschuk, World Vision's child health policy advisor. "Governments and organizations have reached those who are easiest to reach, but in many cases this has meant a devastating increase in the gap between the health rich and poor, with the most vulnerable children bearing the brunt."
"It's a horrifying reality that in today's world, when we have the knowledge, resources and tools to provide quality maternal, newborn and child health for all, that so many children continue to pay the price for the great gap in global health, with their lives," says Andrew Hassett, World Vision's international campaign director. "We know these lives can be saved, as this report shows. But it's now a matter of priorities - how important is reducing the preventable deaths of children? It's time for leaders to show us."
How Canada can help close the gap:
- Before the end of 2015, keep pressure on global leaders to achieve greater results in closing the gap by seeking out and targeting families and communities currently being left behind.
- Promote development work that is truly accountable to those most vulnerable by improving data collection to look beneath national averages to understand the disadvantages the most marginalized children and families face.
- At the UN General Assembly and in other international discussions, Canada should champion the inclusion of a high-level goal in the post-2015 development agenda to end preventable child and maternal deaths by 2030. This goal should include a strong focus on nutrition, equity, and be measured in all communities, reaching the most remote and marginalized.
Top and bottom ten countries:
The ten countries with the smallest gaps, according to World Vision's Index, are France, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Slovenia, Cuba and Switzerland. The ten countries with the largest gaps are Chad, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire. Seven of these with the greatest health gaps are among the poorest countries in the world.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca.
SOURCE World Vision Canada