The purpose of this publication is to compare health indicators for children in Australia and children from a developing nation in this case Kenya. In Australia the government has formulated what is referred to as headline indicators that focus on a set of priority issues for children health, development and well being. These priorities can be broadly categorized in four major domains namely: - health of families and children, early education and learning, family social economic support and finally creating child friendly communities.Australia can be categorized as a developing country as compared to Kenya in terms of resources, infrastructure, Economic development, Education, Culture and governance. Kenya has over 15% of it population between ages 0-14 years and there is a high dependency burden on social services and healthcare. Despite a steady economic growth of late, more than a half of Kenya’s populations live below poverty line on less than a dollar per day. The most vulnerable are children living in rural areas, urban slums, arid and semi arid areas and areas worst hit by diseases e.g. HIV/AIDS
In this publication I will be looking at the following indicators that determine children health in both Australia and Kenya. These include
(a) Malnutrition in children under 5yrs
(b) Child mortality rate in children between 0-5yrs
(c) Morbidity rate – number of children below 5yrs suffering from preventable diseases
(d) Poverty index – comparison of average family income and social economic status.
(e) Child labor and protection of children rights
Malnutrition and underweight children aged between 0-5yrs (2008-2009)
Child mortality Rate in 0-5yrs (2008-2009)
Morbidity Rate amongst 0-5yrs (2008-2009)
Poverty index (2008-2009)
Child Labor in children between 5-14yrs (2008-2009)
DIFFRENCES IN HEALTH INDICATORS FOR CHILDREN IN KENYA AND AUSTRALIA
Percentage of children aged between 0-5yrs with Malnutrition and underweight (2008-2009)
Hunger, lack of money to buy food, failure by mothers to breastfeed, diseases, lack of nutrients in food etc. all contribute to malnutrition and underweight problem amongst children in Kenya which stood at 30% according to UNICEF 2008. In Australia there are jobs for fatty everyone, clean water supply, improved infrastructure, plenty of food, diseases burden is low and a strong education system hence lower incidences of malnutrition or under nutrition among children.
Percentage ofChild mortality in ages between 0-5yrs (2008-2009)
There is a big difference in mortality rate of children aged up to 5yrs in the two countries, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, lack of proper health services diseases etc. all contribute to high mortality rate of children in Kenya compared to the children in Australia.
Percentage of child morbidity in ages between 0-5yrs (2008-2009)
Disease burden is higher in Kenya compared to Australia due to poor health services, poverty, lack of clean water, poor methods of waste disposal, poor sanitation, ignorance, and poor immunization coverage. Health care is not as developed in Kenya as it is in Australia: children in Kenya die of preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea diseases, tuberculosis and waterborne diseases.
Percentage of poverty among citizens (2007-2008)
Poverty index among Kenyan families is higher than the Australian families and this determines their health status, which leaves Kenya at 58% and Australia at 0% in contrast.
Percentage of children subjected to child labor aged between 5-14yrs (2008-2009)
Kenyan children are sometimes forced to work in order to help their families, or are either orphaned or abandoned forcing them to work for survival according to UNICEF report. In contrast, the Australian law forbids child labor.
Health determinants that influence health status for children in Australia and Kenya.
People with a high status; have a longer life expectancy compared to those with low social status.
Poor people can hardly afford good healthcare, making them vulnerable to diseases.
Life expectancy for an average Kenyan is lower compared that of an Australian partly due to poor social economic status.
There is a high rate of incidences of obesity and overweight in Australian children as compared to Kenyan children. This is as a result of eating junk foods and lack of physical exercise.
In contrast, Kenyan children suffer malnutrition and underweight. There are a high percentage of children below 5yrs who die of malnutrition.
Kenyan children born to HIV mothers have a higher risk of contracting the disease through birth and breastfeeding.
Lack of proper facilities, policies, ignorance and illiteracy contribute to high prevalence of HIV amongst children.
The Australian government has put in place policies that emphasize on good foundations for prenatal and early childhood lowering the risk of HIV/AIDS amongst children.
Access to clean water, proper sanitation, proper waste management and reduced environmental pollution, has greatly contributed to healthy children and reduced instances of diseases in Australia while in Kenya this remains a pipe dream.
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UNICEF Kenya report 2008/2009