NEW DELHI – The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned on Wednesday that growing hunger can result in an estimated global death of as many as 10,000 children every month.
Ghebreyesus was speaking at the ‘Laureates & Leaders for Children Summit’ organised by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi.
“Due to school closure, some 368 million school children have missed out on school meals. The increased hunger due to the pandemic could lead to the death of an estimated 10,000 children every month,” warned Ghebreyesus.
As a solution, he demanded availability and access to essential services. Immunisation, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, breast feeding, mental health and psycho-social support are the prerequisite to begin with, he said.
The WHO chief also cautioned nations which reopened schools to take adequate measures to prevent the spread of the virus. He highlighted the issue of stigmatisation of those who may have been detected with Covid-19.
He also asked all the nations to ensure that children are safe from abuse and maltreatment. “We cannot continue to fail our young global citizens,” he said.
Ghebreyesus also said that children should be the focus of the post Covid recovery.
Addressing the summit, the Dalai Lama cited the growing inequality between the rich and the poor which he said is a matter of concern even as he declared himself as a ‘socialist’.
“Children are the key generation who will create the future and make a truly peaceful world. In our social system today, the rich remain better off and the poor remain poor. Now, in that respect I am a socialist,” he said.
The Tibetan spiritual leader gave a call to reduce the gap between the two stratas. He said whether one thinks of himself as a socialist or not, humanity should be the overpowering emotion now, given how much the have-nots are in need right now.
Earlier, Satyarthi called the current situation created by Covid-19 as a crisis of “civilisation” and “morality”. He said that the global response has been “unequal” and has “exposed” the reality.