EuroHealthNet welcomes the EU strategy on the rights of the child (2021-2024). In the response EuroHealthNet highlighted that not all children and adolescents have equal access to the opportunities to lead healthy, happy and prosperous lives. The situation has worsened during the pandemic, with highly likely adverse consequences to children and young people’s psycho-social health and wellbeing. Importantly, those negative impacts have been unequally distributed across the populations in European countries. Such avoidable inequities are now likely to grow in the context of the COVID-19 crisis; a more substantial and ambitious focus and investments in children and their living conditions is urgently needed. The European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), its implementation Action Plan, and this Child Right’s Strategy are therefore key vehicles to ensuring the rights of the child to health, freedom from poverty and inequality. For that, data and surveillance systems need to be put in place, so as the governance mechanisms for collaboration, systematic impact assessment of policy and funds’ on child rights and child protection outcomes across a comprehensive set of dimensions, including health promotion and disease prevention, health risk factors and health inequalities.
EuroHealthNet recommends the EU’s Strategy on the Rights of the Child to address the following issues:
- A focus on reducing child poverty (25% of the EU’s children) and health inequalities
- Ensuring environments that encourage and easily enable children and adolescents to adopt healthy
- lifestyles and behaviours
- Tackling persistent inequalities in childhood vaccination and immunisation
- Improving the collection of disaggregated data on child health, well-being and social inclusion to help
- monitor and assess progress towards reducing child health inequalities, child poverty and vulnerability