Suicide Is The Third Leading Cause Of Death Among 15-19-Year-Olds Worldwide


With the alarmingly high rates of self-harm, suicide and anxiety among children and young people around the world, UNICEF and the World Health Organization are teaming up with some of the world’s leading minds to tackle this growing threat.

“Too many children and young people, rich and poor alike, in all four corners of the world, are experiencing mental health conditions,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “This looming crisis has no borders or boundaries.

With half of mental disorders starting before age 14, we need urgent and innovative strategies to prevent, detect and, if needed, treat them at an early age.”

In a joint push to put child and adolescent mental disorders higher up on the global health agenda, UNICEF and WHO will co-host their first ever conference on the topic in Florence, Italy, 7-9 November.

The conference is part of Leading Minds, UNICEF’s new annual global conference series to highlight major issues affecting children and young people in the 21st century.

Part of celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the conference will lead to recommendations for decisive action informed by scholars, scientists, governments, philanthropists, business, civil society and young people themselves.

According to the latest data:

Up to 20 per cent of adolescents globally experience mental disorders.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds worldwide.
Around 15 per cent of adolescents in low-and middle-income countries have considered suicide.

The cost of mental disorders is not only personal; it is also societal and economic. And yet, child and adolescent mental health has often been overlooked in global and national health programming.

“Too few children have access to programmes that teach them how to manage difficult emotions,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Very few children with mental health conditions have access to the services they need. This must change.”

Leading Minds 2019 will look at the resources, partnerships, services, political commitment and public support needed to promote the mental health of children and young people.

The conference will examine the rationale and the results from the state of the science and practice including the latest evidence on brain health in the earliest years of life, through early and middle childhood and adolescence.

It will consider gaps in data that need to be addressed as well as programmes that have been successful. It will also interrogate the overall prevalence of mental ill health across ages and geographies, causes and contributing factors, and programmes for preventing and treating disorders and promoting healthy minds.

Katsina Banditry: UNICEF Pledges Support For Women And Children


The United Nations Children’s Fund has pledged to collaborate with the Katsina state government to provide technical and financial support to ensure that the lives of children and women affected by the recent banditry activities are improved.

This is according to Mr Rabiu Musa, UNICEF’s Communication Specialist in Kano.

Mr Musa says the initiative will enable the victims to go back to their normal lives especially children of school age, with those of  childbearing age and pregnant women not left out.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill One, Abduct Five Others In Kaduna

Musa disclosed this to Channels Television after a team of UNICEF specialists held a stakeholders meeting in Katsina state.

He said the meeting was in response to a meeting held earlier with the state government on expanded collaboration between the UNICEF and the state government to address some of the key issues emanated as an outcome of the banditry activities in some parts of the state.

He maintains that the UNICEF will soon be moving to the field to discuss and interact with communities and people affected after taking the assessment from senior stakeholders at the meeting.

One-In-Three Young Children Undernourished Or Overweight – UNICEF

Over 3,500 Children Recruited By Insurgents, Says UN


A third of the world’s nearly 700 million children under five years old are undernourished or overweight and face lifelong health problems as a consequence, according to a grim UN assessment of childhood nutrition released Tuesday.

“If children eat poorly, they live poorly,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, unveiling the Fund’s first State of the World’s Children report since 1999.

“We are losing ground in the fight for healthy diets.”

Problems that once existed at opposite ends of the wealth spectrum have today converged in poor and middle-income countries, the report showed.

Despite a nearly 40 percent drop from 1990 to 2015 of stunting in poor countries, 149 million children four or younger are today still too short for their age, a clinical condition that impairs both brain and body development.

Another 50 million are afflicted by wasting, a chronic and debilitating thinness also born of poverty.

At the same time, half of youngsters across the globe under five are not getting essential vitamins and minerals, a long-standing problem UNICEF has dubbed “hidden hunger.”

Over the last three decades, however, another form of child malnutrition has surged across the developing world: excess weight.

“This triple burden — undernutrition, a lack of crucial micronutrients, obesity — is increasingly found in the same country, sometimes in the same neighbourhood, and often in the same household,” Victor Aguayo, head of UNICEF’s nutrition programme, told AFP.

“A mother who is overweight or obese can have children who are stunted or wasted.”

Across all age groups, more than 800 million people in the world are constantly hungry and another two billion are eating too much of the wrong foods, driving epidemics of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

 ‘Hidden hunger’

Among children under five, diet during the first 1,000 days after conception is the foundation for physical health and mental development.

And yet, only two-in-five infants under six months are exclusively breastfed, as recommended. Sales of milk-based formula have risen worldwide by 40 percent and in upper middle-income countries such as Brazil, China and Turkey by nearly three-quarters.

Missing vitamins and minerals, meanwhile, can lead to compromised immune systems, poor sight and hearing defects. A lack of iron can cause anaemia and reduced IQ.

“It’s ‘hidden’ because you don’t notice the impact until it is too late,” Brian Keeley, editor-in-chief of report, told AFP.

“You don’t notice that the child is running a little slower than everyone else, struggling a bit in school.”

The rise of obesity, however, is plain to see.

The problem was virtually non-existent in poor countries 30 years ago, but today at least 10 per cent of under five-year-olds are overweight or obese in three-quarters of low-income nations.

“There needs to be a focus on obesity before it is too late,” said Keeley. “Unless you deal with it in a preventative way, you’re going to struggle to fix it later on.”

Cheap, readily available junk food, often marketed directly to kids, has made the problem much worse.

“Children are eating too much of what they don’t need — salt, sugar and fat,” Keeley added.

Progress in fighting undernourishment will also be hampered by climate change, the report warned.

Tax sugary drinks

A single degree Celsius of warming since the late-19th century has amplified droughts responsible for more than 80 per cent of damage and losses in agriculture.

Earth’s average surface temperature is set to rise another two or three degrees by 2100.

Research by scientists at Harvard University, meanwhile, have shown that the increased concentration of CO2 in the air is sapping staple food crops of those essential nutrients and vitamins, including zinc, iron and vitamin B.

“The impacts of climate change are completely transforming the food that is available and that can be consumed,” Aguayo said.

Making sure every child has access to a healthy diet must become a “political priority” if widespread malnutrition is to be conquered, especially in developing countries, the report said.

Taxes on sugary foods and beverages; clear, front-of-package labelling; regulating the sale of breast milk substitutes; limiting the advertising and sale of ‘junk food’ near schools — these and other measures could make a difference, it concluded.

“The way we understand and respond to malnutrition needs to change,” said Fore.

“It is not just about getting children enough to eat. It is above all about getting them to eat the right food.”

The recent rise of awareness about the danger of global warming is instructive, the authors said.

“Just as we have organised a movement around climate change, we need to mobilise civil society,” said Aguayo. “If our children are not fed healthy diets, we are putting a huge question mark on the future of our societies.


Malian Children Facing A Spike In Violence, UNICEF Says

Libya Identified As Epicenter For Migrant Child Abuse



UN child protection body UNICEF warned on Tuesday children in Mali faced rising violence with more than 150 killed in the first half of the year in jihadist and ethnic attacks.

“More than 150 children were killed in the first half of 2019 and 75 were injured in violent attacks,” a UNICEF statement said.

“Recruitment and use of children in armed groups doubled in comparison to the same period in 2018, and more than 900 schools remain closed due to insecurity,” it added.

French forces intervened in Mali six years ago to chase out jihadist groups that had taken over much of the country’s north, but organisations linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group are still active there.

Meanwhile, ethnic conflicts have added to the volatile mix, especially in central Mali.

“We must not accept the suffering of children as the new normal,” the UNICEF statement quoted executive director Henrietta Fore as saying.

The UN stabilization force in Mali, MINUSMA, published last week the results of an investigation that said 22 children aged between one and 12 years old (11 girls and 11 boys) were among the 35 people killed during an attack on June 9 against the village of Sobane Da, in an ethnic Dogon enclave.

Most had been burned to death or suffocated inside homes that had been set ablaze, the report said.

“Increasing inter-communal violence and the presence of armed groups has resulted in repeated attacks which have led to the killing and maiming of children, their displacement and separation from their families, and their exposure to sexual violence and psychological trauma,” UNICEF said.

It added that more than 377,000 children now needed assistance in Mali and that UNICEF would need an additional $4 million (3.58 million euros) to help woman and children in the country.


EU, UNICEF Renovate Seven Primary Healthcare Centres In Adamawa


UNICEF in collaboration with the European Union has completed the renovation of seven Primary Healthcare facilities in Adamawa State and handed them over to the state government.

The renovation is part of interventions by the EU to provide support for 140 health facilities in the state to improve maternal and newborn healthcare.

Of the 140 facilities, the seven newly furnished centres that were handed over on Saturday, include: The Major Aminu Primary Healthcare Centre and others in Nassarawo, Jambutu and Malamari in Yola North Local Government Area, while the three others were located in Jada Local Government Area.

In attendance were officials of the state Ministry of Health, the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, among other partners.

Speaking about the intervention, the UNICEF Health Specialist, Bauchi Field Office, Dr. Halima Abdu, said the agency has been collaborating over the years towards providing primary healthcare.

“We’ve been partnering with the European Union for a number of years in Adamawa State.

“Initially when we started, the indices in terms of maternal, newborn and child health left a lot to be desired and so the UNICEF was able to get support from the EU. We started with two states, Adamawa and Kebbi between 2014 and 2017 and after the good results from the support we had provided from the health outcomes, we got a second grant from European Union and so we included Bauchi State.

“It was a 54 million euro grant to strengthen maternal, newborn and child health outcomes,” she explained.

Malnutrition: Five Out Of Ten Children Are Stunted In Jigawa – UNICEF

Over 3,500 Children Recruited By Insurgents, Says UN


United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) reports that in every ten children five are stunted as a result of severe acute malnutrition in Jigawa state.

Philomena Irene the UNICEF’s Nutrition specialist made this known during a workshop organized at Tahir Guest Palace, in Kano State, with the aim to improve nutrition in northern Nigeria.

According to her, despite the many efforts, the number of malnourished children in Jigawa remains alarming.

READ ALSO: Osun Govt Approves N150m Grant For Health Scheme

Ms. Irene added that with the efforts made by the state government in the last four years paying the counterpart fund which made it possible to access the UNICEF funding a reduction of 10% has been achieved from a high of 60% down to 50%.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Ahmed Rufai Datti, while delivering his remarks says the ministry of health has introduced a program called ”Masaki” to fight malnutrition using locally produced food.

According to him, the Masaki program which is still at a pilot stage in 3 local government has already proven to be a workable policy in the state.

Jigawa state being an agrarian state has the potentiality to produce various nutritional supplements to fight the menace of severe acute malnutrition that is ravaging the state.

FIFA Launches Child Safeguarding Programme

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations


FIFA promised to enhance child safeguarding standards across its 211 member associations as world football’s governing body launched a new programme on Wednesday.

The FIFA Guardians toolkit has been put together after consultation with experts in the field from UNICEF and the Council of Europe, as well as campaigners who themselves were abused through their participation in sport as children.

Based on “five principles and five steps”, the toolkit will be rolled out through a series of training workshops across all confederations.

Implementing safeguarding measures will also now be obligatory to member association funding from FIFA.

“FIFA has a duty and responsibility to ensure that those who play football can do so in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment,” said FIFA’s general secretary Fatma Samoura.

“It will be a long road and it will be bumpy, but we are ready.”

The development and implementation of the programme comes after a series of abuse scandals.

British football has been rocked by revelations of a slew of historic sexual abuse cases since 2016.

More recently the former head of the Afghanistan Football Federation, Keramuddin Karim, was found guilty of sexually abusing female players and was banned from the sport for life by FIFA.

FIFA’s chief member associations officer Joyce Cook said the safeguarding programme will gradually be expanded for the protection of vulnerable adults.

“While some member associations have well-developed policies and procedures in place, it is clear that many are just starting out on their safeguarding journey,” said Cook.


Children’s Day: UNICEF Inaugurates Campaign On Child’s Right

A school pupil marches during the Children’s Day celebration in Abuja on Monday May 27, 2019. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels TV


The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in commemoration of 2019 Children’s day has inaugurated a campaign to create awareness about the rights of children in Nigerian society.

UNICEF’s new Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

The campaign tagged ‘For every child, every right’ is aimed at drawing attention to the human rights of the Nigerian child.

READ ALSO: Children’s Day Celebration In Pictures

Hawkins said that while there have been many innovations over the last few years, children in Nigeria were still not accessing health, nutrition, education and other amenities as they ought to.

“While there have been many advances over the last years, children in Nigeria are still not accessing health, nutrition, education and other rights to the extent that they must.

“Sadly, it is the most disadvantaged children who are suffering the greatest challenge in having their rights fulfilled,” he said.

This year’s Children’s Day falls during the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is being commemorated this year around the world.

As part of the celebrations, UNICEF is launching a “Passport to Your Rights” – a copy of the CRC in child-friendly language, in pocket format.

Hawkins added that UNICEF aims that every child in Nigeria has a copy by 2030 – the deadline for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The CRC ‘passport’ will also be available in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin languages, helping to ensure access by millions of Nigerians.

“Thirty years ago, something incredible happened. World leaders came together in a moment of unity for the world’s children. They made a promise to every child to protect and fulfill their rights, by adopting the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The Convention established childhood as a period that is separate from adulthood – a time in which children should grow, learn, play, develop and flourish.

“We want to see every Nigerian child have that kind of childhood.

“On this Nigerian Children’s Day, we must look ahead to the future of childhood in this country, and re-commit to urgent, specific actions to protect the rights of every child – now, and in future generations,” Hawkins said.

894 Child Soldiers Released From Civilian JTF In Maiduguri – UNICEF

Over 3,500 Children Recruited By Insurgents, Says UN


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that 894 children have been released from the ranks of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Maiduguri.

The children, including 106 girls were released on Friday as part of commitments to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the fight against insurgents.

According to a statement from UNICEF, the release would be followed up with reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life.

“Any commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right direction for the protection of children’s rights and must be recognised and encouraged,” said Mohamed Fall, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria and the Co-chair of United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations (CTFMR).

“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict. They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence. This participation in the conflict has had serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being.”

READ ALSO: Women Protest In Abuja Over Sexual Assaults By Police Personnel

The organisation further stated that since September 2017, when the CJTF signed an action plan committing to putting measures in place to end and prevent recruitment and use of children, 1,727 children and young people have been released. Since then, there has been no new recruitment of children by the CJTF.

It also noted that the children and young people released today will benefit from reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life, seize new opportunities for their own development, and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria, as productive citizens of their country.

According to the UNICEF, without this support, many of the children released from armed groups struggle to fit into civilian life, as most are not educated and have no vocational skills.

More than 3,500 children are said to have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in the conflicts in northern Nigeria between 2013 and 2017.

According to UNICEF, others have been abducted, maimed, raped and killed.

“We cannot give up the fight for the children, as long as children are still affected by the fighting. We will continue until there is no child left in the ranks of all armed groups in Nigeria,” Fall said.

The organization says it would continue to work closely with state authorities and partners to support the implementation of reintegration programmes for all children released from armed groups, as well as others affected by the ongoing conflict.

The gender and age-appropriate community-based reintegration support interventions include an initial assessment of their well-being, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods.

At least 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities, have accessed such services between 2017 and 2018.

Army Accuses Amnesty International Of Working To Destabilise Nigeria


The Nigerian Army has accused Amnesty International of working to destabilise the country.

In a statement on Monday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, the military alleged that the human rights group has deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the global organisation.

He said, “This is noted through the fabrication of fictitious allegations of alleged human rights abuses against the Nigerian security forces and clandestine sponsorship of dissident groups to protest, as well as unfounded allegations against the leadership of the Nigerian military.

READ ALSO: Several People Feared Killed As Gunmen Attack Kaduna Village

“They have tried over the years using Boko Haram terrorists’ conflicts, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, some activists and now herders-farmers conflicts.”

According to the Army spokesman, the Non-Governmental Organisation is on the verge of “releasing yet another concocted report against the military and warns that the army would call for the closure of amnesty offices in Nigeria if such recklessness continues.”

The allegation comes a week after the army suspended the activities of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the northeast.

Shortly after, the military authorities lifted the suspension following the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians.

Army Lifts Suspension Of UNICEF’s Activities In North East

Army Lifts Suspension Of UNICEF’s Activities In North East


The Nigerian Army has lifted its suspension of the operations of in the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North East.

The decision followed an emergency meeting between the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole and representatives of UNICEF on Friday.

Deputy Director of Public Relations of the theatre command, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this in a statement.

He explained that the Army rescinded its decision following the intervention of well-meaning and concerned Nigerians in the matter.

READ ALSO: Army Suspends UNICEF Operations In North East

Colonel Nwachukwu revealed that during the meeting, the Theatre Command admonished the representatives of the organisation to desist from activities inimical to national security and capable of undermining the ongoing fight against terrorism and insurgency.

The command he said urged the UNICEF representatives to ensure they share information with relevant authorities whenever induction or training of new staff was being conducted in the theatre.

“Consequently, after extensive deliberations on the need to seek modalities to work harmoniously with the security agencies in the theatre of operation, the Theatre Command has henceforth lifted the three months suspension earlier imposed on UNICEF activities in North Eastern Nigeria,” the statement said.

Earlier, global human rights organisation, Amnesty International condemned the decision of the Army to suspend UNICEF operations in the region.

The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, had described the action of the Army as an act of intimidation.

Ojigho said the suspension of UNICEF would deprive those whose lives have been devastated by the Boko Haram conflict in the region from receiving much-needed humanitarian assistance.

“We see the suspension of UNICEF as part of a wider drive to intimidate international humanitarian and human rights organisations who are working to save lives in this devastating conflict,” she alleged.

Amnesty International Condemns Suspension Of UNICEF’s Operations In North East

Amnesty International Condemns Suspension Of UNICEF’s Operations In North East


Global human rights organisation, Amnesty International has condemned the suspension of operations of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North East.

The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, described the action of the Nigerian Army as an act of intimidation, after it suspended UNICEF operations over allegations of spying and collaborating with Boko Haram terrorists.

READ ALSO: Army Suspends UNICEF Operations In North East

“Amnesty International strongly condemns attempts by the Nigerian army to demonise UNICEF’s lifesaving work in the northeast of the country, where the Boko Haram conflict has created one of the deadliest humanitarian disasters in the world,” she said in a statement on Friday.

“We see the suspension of UNICEF as part of a wider drive to intimidate international humanitarian and human rights organisations who are working to save lives in this devastating conflict.”

Ojigho stressed that the suspension of UNICEF would deprive those whose lives have been devastated by the Boko Haram conflict in the region from receiving much-needed humanitarian assistance.

“We call on the Nigerian authorities to reverse the suspension of UNICEF immediately. The Nigerian military should focus on protecting lives rather than smearing NGOs,” she said.