Global Child Health Program – McGill University

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Statement on current conflict in Gaza

December 1, 2023

The Global Child Health Program condemns the current humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza, and its effects specifically on children. We call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and safe access to humanitarian aid, to ensure the safety of all children affected by this conflict.

Children in Gaza represent half of the population, and are disproportionately being affected by the ongoing crisis. Over 7000 children have been killed with countless others injured. More children have been killed in the past 7 weeks than the entire global conflict toll since 2019. Limited access to food, safe water, electricity and the destruction of the healthcare system leaves children who have not been killed with food insecurity and malnutrition, as well as increased risk of infectious disease. Children no longer have consistent access to education. There will be long term repercussions on the physical and mental health of children in Gaza.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have a right to life and development, that they should not be separated from their parents, should have access to the highest attainable healthcare, have a right to education, should not be deprived of liberty, and that States should ensure respect for international humanitarian law in armed conflict, including the protection of civilians.

As a group who cares and advocates for the health of children globally, we request an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the upholding of international humanitarian law and the protection of children, unhindered access to humanitarian aid and medical assistance, and the release of all detained children along with their parents. We join with the voices of other organizations including UNRWA, Médecins Sans Frontières, WHO, OXFAM, and the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Association for Global Health.

 

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In 2014, the Global Child Health Program was established within the McGill Department of Pediatrics and is led by a multi-disciplinary steering committee wishing to expand the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s (MCH) involvement in global health activities. This program builds on the long-standing engagement and expertise in global health of members of the MCH and the Department of Pediatrics. It provides global child health education to health care professionals in Montreal and coordinates medical education and research partnerships with pediatric centres in low-income countries.

Mission

The Global Child Health Program aims to contribute sustainably to the health and well-being of children in resource-limited settings by educating members of the Department of Pediatrics and MCH community about global child health and by establishing mutually beneficial, lasting partnerships with pediatric centres in low-income countries. These collaborations allow multidisciplinary health care professionals at the Department of Pediatrics and MCH to capitalize on their expertise by engaging in meaningful medical education and innovative research with local health care professionals in these partner centres. The program adheres to the principles of health equity, sustainability and capacity building by training health care professionals in global child health and by working collaboratively with local health care professionals at partner sites to meet the medical education and research needs that they self-identify. Lessons learned from these collaborations will also help to improve the care received by the large multicultural population served by our Department and hospital, as well as vulnerable children living in our community.

Download the brochure about our program

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