The threat to children’s health around the world from the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in the history of the G7.
In every year since the first G7 conference, the numbers of children dying from entirely preventable causes has fallen worldwide, due in no small part to commitments G7 countries have made to supporting the scale up of life-saving interventions for women and children. Now, for the first time, we are witnessing the threat of a devastating reversal of this progress.
At the time of writing, more than 3 million people have died from COVID-19 during this pandemic. Each of these is a tragedy, and we must act urgently to prevent further deaths.
We must also remember that in the same period more than 5 million children will have lost their lives needlessly before their 5th birthday, and millions more excess maternal, newborn and child deaths may occur due to the additional and protracted collateral impact of the pandemic, if urgent action is not taken.
Needs are escalating dramatically for children, with severe disruption to essential health services and education, missed vaccinations, record numbers of children displaced by conflict and violence, and impending famine across 20 countries. In these circumstances we expect the richest nations to urgently increase their support, yet the gap between needs and commitments is widening. We have even seen commitments drastically reduced in some cases.
There has never been a more crucial time for all G7 nations to honour the commitments they have made to international assistance. In addition, in this time of crisis, we urge our governments to go much further and increase their support to protect the health of women and children globally. The actions that are taken by world leaders at this time of global crisis will not only determine how many lives can be saved during this pandemic, but will make history and shape perceptions of our world for future generations. In times of crisis it is often said that women and children come first. We urge the G7 nations to take this historic opportunity to show leadership in making this a reality.
Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, United Kingdom
Professor Christèle Gras-Le Guen - Présidente de la Société Française de pédiatrie, France
Professor Dr Jörg Dötsch - President of the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ), Germany
Dr Sam Wong - President of the Canadian Pediatric Society, Canada
Dr. Akira Oka - President of the Japan Pediatric Society, Japan
Dr Alberto Villani – President of Società Italiana di Pediatria, Italy
Dr Lee Beers - President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, USA