The 8 Things That End Childhood Too Soon: What Clinicians Should Know

Interviewer: Laurie Scudder, DNP, NP; Interviewee: Richard Bland, JD

Disclosures

June 30, 2017

In This Article

How Can We Preserve Childhood?

Medscape: What are the key takeaway messages for healthcare professionals worldwide, and here in the United States?

Mr Bland: I think, particularly for healthcare professionals, it's important to realize that many of these childhood-enders have prevention strategies that work. To me, the great tragedy of this report is that despite knowing what can be done to prevent some of these childhood-enders, we are looking at cutting, not increasing, the budget for many of those programs.

Brianna, 8, from Union County, South Carolina, where 1 in 3 children grows up in poverty. Photo by Gary Dowd/Save the Children

The current administration is looking to significantly cut spending on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. A year from now, we may be seeing even more stark numbers across the country, owing to the fact that we're not actually increasing investments and increasing access to these programs.

The good news is we are calling on governments and communities, along with many of our organizational partners, to ask healthcare professionals worldwide to take three actions based on this report. First is to invest more in children and mobilize the resources needed to address these childhood-enders. We urge your audience to call on policymakers to invest more in children.

Second, ensure that all children are treated equally. The time is now to end discriminatory policies, norms, and behaviors, such as preventing girls from accessing health services, or denying education to a child because of his or her ethnicity or gender, which occurs frightfully often across the world. Around the globe, governments must also put in place systems to register every child at birth, which is the first step to ensuring access to care.

The third step is to include all children, regardless of who they are or where they are from, when allocating investments and allowing their access to critical services.

Finally, I think the findings of the report speak for themselves. For those who want to get more involved, we have some pretty concrete recommendations on our website. I particularly encourage those healthcare professionals that are reading around the world to read the full report, and the US complement to the report, to see how they can get involved.

We are working hard as part of several coalitions. We know what works. Bottom line is that in 2017, we know that each of these childhood-enders has a paired set of proven interventions that can prevent the event. However, many of those proven programs are at risk owing to federal budget cuts. Therefore, they are in jeopardy in the years ahead. We hope your readers and the public at large will join us in trying to convince lawmakers to invest in children, thereby keeping childhood intact for more children here and abroad in the years to come.

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