10 November 2016

Children have the right to health

Children have the same right as adults to be healthy.


The first Saturday in November was National Children’s Day in South Africa. The aim of the day is to highlight the progress that is being made in the promotion and realisation of children’s rights.

Appropriate health care

Children have the same right to be healthy as adults do. The World Health Organisation defines health as: "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".

Read: Diets for preschool children

And, says the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the right to health also extends to appropriate health care, and the things that affect health, such as access to clean drinking water, sanitation, safe food, housing, and a healthy environment.  

Sufficient nourishment

Essential to a child’s health is sufficient nourishment – something that begins before birth with the nutrition of its mother. Insufficient nourishment during pregnancy, and during the first two years of life can seriously hamper a child’s brain development, and could have permanent and irreversible effects.  Both iron and iodine deficiencies have a negative impact on children’s brain development and their achievements.  

Read: More on child health

Children who are poorly nourished are more prone to infections, and the resulting frequent absences from school could make them fail to keep up with the rest of the children in their class. They also tend to be less active, less social and less curious. Undernutrition is responsible for nearly half of the deaths in children under the age of five. Poor nutrition can also lead to stunted physical growth and mental development.  

Cipla’s Ajuga Initiative is aimed at ensuring that children have at least two years of pre-school education, nutrition and health care, which would give children solid building blocks for the future, enabling them to become productive, healthy and valuable members of the community.

Go to Cipla Foundation SA for more information.   

Read more:

SA failing in child health

Maternal, child health in crisis

Call to vaccinate kids before school starts

References: Accessed on 2 November 2016.  " 2011/11children's_rights_to_health.pdf. Accessed on 2 November 2016. Accessed on 2 November 2016. Accessed on 2 November 2016. Accessed on 2 November 2016. Accessed on 2 November 2016.


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