Although modern medical technology and treatment regimens in well-resourced countries have improved the survival of sick or injured children, most of the world's families do not have access to adequate health care. Many hospitals in poorly resourced countries do not have basic water and sanitation, a reliable electricity supply, or even minimal security. The staff, both clinical and nonclinical, are often underpaid and sometimes undervalued by their communities. In many countries there continues to be minimal, if any, pain control, and the indiscriminate use of powerful antibiotics leads to a proliferation of multiresistant pathogens. Even in well-resourced countries, advances in health care have not always been accompanied by commensurate attention to the child's wider well-being and sufficient concerns about their anxieties, fears, and suffering.
In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,1 the proposals set out in this article aim to develop a system of care that will focus on the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of children attending health care facilities, particularly as inpatients.
To develop in consultation with local health care professionals and international organizations, globally applicable standards that will help to ensure that practices in hospitals and health centers everywhere respect children's rights, not only to survival and avoidance of morbidity, but also to their protection from unnecessary suffering and their informed participation in treatment.
Child Advocacy International will liase closely with the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the implementation of the pilot scheme in 6 countries. In hospitals providing maternity and newborn infant care, the program will be closely linked with the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative of WHO/UNICEF that aims to strengthen support for breastfeeding. United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, child protection, breastfeeding, pain control, palliative care, child abuse.