SARS-COV-2 Delta variant now dominant in much of the European Region and efforts must be reinforced to prevent transmission, warn WHO/Europe and ECDC
Together to #ENDviolence: Leaders' Statement. Six game-changing actions to End Violence Against Children
One billion children experience violence and abuse every year. That shocking figure has risen even higher during the COVID-19 pandemic. Violence prevention and response services have been disrupted for 1.8 billion children living in more than 100 countries. 1.5 billion young people affected by school closures lost the protection and support that schools often provide.
Measures to contain the virus, along with economic hardship and family stress, have combined to create ‘perfect storm’ conditions for children vulnerable to observing or experiencing physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Despite the benefits of digital connectivity, a life lived more online for learning, socialising and gaming has significantly increased children’s exposure to those who wish to harm them.
Today, we stand at a critical moment for the world’s children. Unless we act now and with urgency, we risk losing a generation of children to the long-term impacts of violence and abuse that will undermine child safety, health, learning and development long after the pandemic subsides. We cannot let that happen.
As the world starts to emerge from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to reimagine and create more peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Now is the time to redouble our collective efforts and translate what we know works into accelerated progress towards the goal of a world where every child grows-up safe, secure and in a nurturing environment.
We must create a world: where every child can grow up and thrive with dignity; where violence and abuse of children is legally outlawed and socially unacceptable; where the relationship between parents and children prevents the intergenerational transmission of violence; where children in every community can safely take advantage of the digital world for learning, playing and socialising; where girls and boys experience stronger developmental and educational outcomes because schools and other learning environments are safe, gender-sensitive, inclusive and supportive; where sport is safe for children; where every effort is made to protect the most vulnerable children from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse, including those living in situations of conflict and fragility (including climate-related fragility); and where all children can access safe and child-friendly help when they need it.
The moral imperative and economic case for action to end violence against children are compelling. Action today will not only prevent the devastating intergenerational social and economic impacts of violence on children, families and societies; it will also help to address the wider impacts of COVID-19 and support progress towards multiple Sustainable Development Goals.
Together, as leaders of organisations committed to ending violence against children, we urge leaders in government, the private sector, faith communities, multilateral organisations, civil society and sports bodies to seize the moment and be champions of this agenda in their countries, organisations, networks and communities. We call on these leaders to prioritise protecting children in their policies, planning, budgets and communications, and to work together to deliver six game-changing actions to end violence against children:
- Ban all forms of violence against children by 2030
- Equip parents and caregivers to keep children safe
- Make the internet safe for children
- Make schools safe, non-violent and inclusive
- Protect children from violence in humanitarian settings
- More investment, better spent
As global organisations working to end violence against children, we will continue to advocate for and invest in effective child protection, promoting solutions that recognise the different ways in which girls and boys experience violence and abuse. We will collectively develop and share technical resources and guidance for policymakers, practitioners, parents, caregivers and children themselves. And we will support the courageous health, education, child protection and humanitarian professionals working alongside faith leaders, community volunteers, parents and young people to keep children safe during these unprecedented times.
In recent years, we have made significant gains in protecting children from violence. We must do all we can to keep children safe during the current turmoil, and work together to build back better — to end all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation of children.Signatories
- Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education
- Niklas Andréen, President and Chief Operating Officer, Carlson Wagonlit Travel
- Inger Ashing, CEO, Save the Children International
- Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO
- Irakli Beridze, Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, UNICRI
- Scott Berkowitz, President and Founder, RAINN
- Anna Borgstrom, CEO, NetClean
- Professor Lucle Cluver, Universities of Oxford and Cape Town
- Julie Cordua, CEO, Thorn
- Bob Cunningham, CEO, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
- Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director, Inspiring Children’s Futures, Uni. of Strathclyde
- Michelle DeLaune, Chief Operating Officer, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- Iain Drennan, Executive Director, WeProtect Global Alliance
- Suzanne Ehlers, CEO, Malala Fund
- Helga Fogstad,, Executive-Director, PMNCH
- Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
- Dr. Debi Fry, Co-Director, End Violence Lab, University of Edinburgh
- Virginia Gamba, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
- Meg Gardinier, Secretary General, ChildFund Alliance
- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
- Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
- Paula Guillet de Monthoux, Secretary General, World Childhood Foundation
- Susie Hargreaves, CEO, Internet Watch Foundation
- Mary Harvey, CEO, Centre for Sport and Human Rights
- Denton Howard, Executive Director, INHOPE
- Ingrid Johansen, CEO, SOS Children’s Villages International
- Eylah Kadjar, Secretary General ad Interim, Terre des Hommes International Federation
- Baroness Beeban Kidron OBE, Founder and Chair, 5Rights Foundation
- Patrick Krens, Executive Director, Child Helpline International
- Dr. A.K. Shiva Kumar, Global Co-Chair, Know Violence in Childhood
- Dr. Daniela Ligiero, Executive Director and CEO, Together for Girls
- Elizabeth Lule, Executive Director, Early Childhood Development Action Network
- Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children
- Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President, Arigatou International
- Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women
- Andrew Morley, President and CEO, World Vision International
- Thomas Muller, Acting Executive Director, ECPAT International
- Raj Nooyi, Interim CEO, Plan International
- Dr. Joan Nyanyuki, Executive Director, African Child Policy Forum
- Mabel van Oranje, Founder and Board Chair, Girls Not Brides
- Pramila Patten, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
- Joy Phumaphi, Board Co-Chair, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children
- Rev. Prof. Dr. Ioan Sauca, Acting General Secretary, World Council of Churches
- Dr. Rajeev Seth, Chair of the Board, IPSCAN
- Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait
- Dr. Howard Taylor, Executive Director, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children
- Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Board Co-Chair, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children
- Liv Tørres, Director, Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, New York University
- Dr. Jennifer Wortham, Chair, World Day Global Collaborative
New report reveals stark inequalities in access to HIV prevention and treatment services for children—partners call for urgent action
Almost half (46%) of the world’s 1.7 million children living with HIV were not on treatment in 2020 and 150 000 children were newly infected with HIV, four times more than the 2020 target of 40 000
In the final report from the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free initiative, UNAIDS and partners* warn that progress towards ending AIDS among children, adolescents and young women has stalled and none of the targets for 2020 were met.
The report shows that the total number of children on treatment declined for the first time, despite the fact that nearly 800 000 children living with HIV are not currently on treatment. It also shows that opportunities to identify infants and young children living with HIV early are being missed—more than one third of children born to mothers living with HIV were not tested. If untreated, around 50% of children living with HIV die before they reach their second birthday.
“Over 20 years ago, initiatives for families and children to prevent vertical transmission and to eliminate children dying of AIDS truly kick-started what has now become our global AIDS response. This stemmed from an unprecedented activation of all partners, yet, despite early and dramatic progress, despite more tools and knowledge than ever before, children are falling way behind adults and way behind our goals,” said Shannon Hader, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme. “The inequalities are striking—children are nearly 40% less likely than adults to be on life-saving treatment (54% of children versus 74% of adults), and account for a disproportionate number of deaths (just 5% of all people living with HIV are children, but children account for 15% of all AIDS-related deaths). This is about children’s right to health and healthy lives, their value in our societies. It’s time to reactivate on all fronts—we need the leadership, activism, and investments to do what’s right for kids.”
Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free is a five-year framework that began in 2015, following on from the hugely successful Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. It called for a super Fast-Track approach to ensure that every child has an HIV-free beginning, that they stay HIV-free through adolescence and that every child and adolescent living with HIV has access to antiretroviral therapy. The approach intensified focus on 23 countries, 21 of which were in Africa, that accounted for 83% of the global number of pregnant women living with HIV, 80% of children living with HIV and 78% of young women aged 15–24 years newly infected with HIV.
“The HIV community has a long history of tackling unprecedented challenges, today we need that same energy and perseverance to address the needs of the most vulnerable—our children. African leaders have the power to help us change the pace of care and should act and lead until no child living with HIV is left behind,” said Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General of the Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases Division of the World Health Organization.
Although the 2020 targets were missed, the 21 focus countries in Africa made better progress than the non-focus countries. However, there were major disparities between countries, and these countries still bear the highest burden of disease: 11 countries account for nearly 70% of the “missing children”—those living with HIV but not on treatment. There was a 24% decline in new HIV infections among children from 2015 to 2020 in focus countries versus a 20% decline globally. Focus countries also achieved 89% treatment coverage for pregnant women living with HIV, compared to 85% globally, but still short of the target of 95%, and there were huge differences between countries. For example, Botswana achieved 100% treatment coverage, yet the Democratic Republic of the Congo only reached 39%.
“While we are deeply distressed by the global paediatric HIV shortfalls, we are also encouraged by the fact that we largely have the tools we need to change this,” said Angeli Achrekar, Acting United States Global AIDS Coordinator. “So, let this report be a call to action to challenge complacency and to work tirelessly to close the gap.”
The report outlines three actions necessary to end new HIV infections among children in the focus countries. First, reach pregnant women with testing and treatment as early as possible—66 000 new HIV infections occurred among children because their mothers did not receive treatment at all during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Second, ensure the continuity of treatment and viral suppression during pregnancy, breastfeeding and for life—38 000 children became newly infected with HIV because their mothers were not continued in care during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Third, prevent new HIV infections among women who are pregnant and breastfeeding—35 000 new infections among children occurred because a woman became newly infected with HIV during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
There has been some progress in preventing adolescent girls and young women from acquiring HIV. In the focus countries, the number of adolescent girls and young women acquiring HIV declined by 27% from 2015 to 2020. However, the number of adolescent girls and young women acquiring HIV in the 21 focus countries was 200 000, twice the global target for 2020 (100 000). In addition, COVID-19 and school closures are now disrupting many educational and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls and young women, highlighting the urgent need to redouble HIV prevention efforts to reach young women and adolescent girls.
“The lives of the most vulnerable girls and young women hang in the balance, locked into deeply entrenched cycles of vulnerability and neglect that must urgently be interrupted. With the endorsement of United Nations Member States, the new global AIDS strategy recommits us all to address these intersecting vulnerabilities to halt and reverse the effects of HIV by 2030. We know that rapid gains can be achieved for girls and young women; what is needed is the courage to apply the solutions, and the discipline to implement these with rigor and scale,” said Chewe Luo, United Nations Children’s Fund Chief of HIV and Associate Director of Health Programmes.
UNAIDS and partners will continue to work together to develop new frameworks to address the unfinished agenda. New targets for 2025 were officially adopted by United Nations Member States in the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030 in June this year, providing a road map for the next five years.
“It is clear that ending mother-to-child transmission requires innovative approaches that support the whole woman throughout the life course, including intensified primary prevention efforts, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), access to comprehensive reproductive care, and focused attention on adolescent girls and young women. The Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free report includes new the new targets for 2025 that, if met, will propel a new era of HIV prevention and treatment for women, children and families. This is not the time for complacency, but rather an opportunity to redouble investments to reduce and eliminate mother-to-child transmission,” said Chip Lyons, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
*The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, UNAIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization, with support from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
PEPFAR is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Managed and overseen by the U.S. Department of State, and supported through the compassion and generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has saved 20 million lives, prevented millions of infections, and helped transform the global AIDS response.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. Follow UNICEF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
Dedicated to the well-being of all people and guided by science, the World Health Organization (WHO) leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the UN agency for heath that connects nations, partners and people on the front lines in 150+ locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, addressing the root causes of health issues and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. www.who.int
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
EGPAF is a proven leader in the fight for an AIDS-free generation and has reached over 31 million pregnant women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. Founded in 1988, EGPAF has supported over 15,000 sites and currently works in 17 countries to offer HIV counseling, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services alongside high-quality family health care. Each stage of life—from infancy to adulthood—brings new and different challenges, and EGPAF is driven to see a world where no other mother, child, or family is devastated by this disease. For more information, visit www.pedaids.org.
International Paralympic Committee, World Health Organization sign memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the promotion of diversity and equity in health and sports
Considerations for the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Workforce: Enhancing Access to COVID-19 Vaccination Services
Rapid Outbreak Assessment: Multi-country outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup ST22, presumed to be linked to imported melons
Rapid risk assessment: Increase in OXA-244 -producing Escherichia coli in the European Union/European Economic Area and the UK since 2013, first update
Framework for Implementation of COVID-19 Community Mitigation Measures for Lower-Resource Countries
Following the recent G20 side event co-hosted by the Italian Government and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) focusing on the role of logistics in current and future health emergencies, WFP and the World Health Organization (WHO) are launching INITIATE2, a joint project to bring together emergency actors, research and academic institutions, and international and national partners to promote knowledge sharing and skills transfer for improved emergency response to health crises.
INITIATE² will develop standardized, innovative solutions such as disease-specific field facilities and kits and test these solutions in real-life scenarios. The agencies will also train logistics and health responders on their installation and use, contributing to their capacity to respond in health crises. The project will be developed and replicated in countries for relevant personnel, building on past experiences in emergency response.
“Health emergencies like the West Africa Ebola response and the current COVID-19 pandemic have shown just how crucial working together as a humanitarian community is, and so we’re extremely pleased to be able to further cement our role as an enabler of humanitarian response through this collaboration with WHO,” said Alex Marianelli, WFP Director of Supply Chain.
“The WHO-WFP-led COVID-19 Supply Chain System has already illustrated an end-to-end integration of technical and operational capacities for impact,” said Dr Ibrahima Soce-Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergencies Response, WHO. “With INITIATE2, WFP and WHO are now extending the collaboration to build synergies among different actors and foster innovation in this critical field, to quickly respond to health emergencies and create a conducive environment for knowledge sharing and skills transfer. This is an excellent example of how we can scale and harmonize emergency preparedness, readiness, and response.”
The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States across six regions, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being.
For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitch
The initiative will combine WFP and WHO’s technical expertise and will leverage the existing infrastructure of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, the first in a network of six strategically located hubs around the world which store and dispatch relief items on behalf of the humanitarian community. INITIATE2 will capitalise on these facilities and experience: the Brindisi hub is regularly used to organize large-scale emergency simulations and hosts the UNHRD Lab, where innovative emergency response products are developed and tested.
Updated WHO SAGE Roadmap for prioritizing uses of COVID-19 vaccines in the context of limited supply
This interim guidance was initially issued in October 2020, based on advice from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization; it has been updated following the discussions at an extraordinary meeting of SAGE on 29 June 2021. A summary of the major revisions appears in Annex 3 (page 20), including evolving key assumptions and epidemiological considerations.