“Child protection is essential in achieving a healthier Africa”

Health practitioners at all levels can and should play a key role in recognising victims of child abuse and exploitation. In addition, health practitioners should ensure that children are protected at all times while getting health services. Terre des Hommes Netherlands has been lobbying for these two issues during the Africa Health Agenda 2017 International Conference (AHAIC 2017). AHAIC 2017 brought together over 700 government officials, health professionals, civil society organisations, development agencies and scientists from across the continent to discuss unique, homegrown innovations and solutions to advance health care for the continent in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Children's rights

Child protection within the context of health

As part of its lobby activities at AHAIC 2017, Terre des Hommes Netherlands facilitated a capacity building workshop for the conference participants. The workshop “Child Protection within the Context of Health” focused on the two main aspects of keeping children safe within the formal and informal health systems across Africa: the role of health practitioners in child protection and how the rights of children should be safeguarded within health systems.

We need advocacy for prioritisation of child rights in all sections of the health care system.

(AHAIC 2017 workshop participant)

Eyes and ears on the ground

Health practitioners are not only important in recognising young victims of abuse and exploitation, they are also crucial in taking appropriate action including generating evidence. This role is to be played at all levels of health care provision, from established health facilities to the grassroots level.  Many African children still do not have access to established health facilities, and instead get health care in more informal ways at the grassroots levels. Especially community health workers and other informal health care providers function as eyes and ears on the ground, and should be facilitated in identification of and responding to violations of child rights.

We need to strengthen the capacity of health care workers and help them understand child protection

(AHAIC 2017 workshop participant)


Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ workshop attracted a diverse audience, representing the various participants’ groups of the conference, from health care advocates, to health programmers, to health care practitioners and the media. A wall of pledges symbolically concluded the workshop, with every participant pledging and suggesting on how to safeguard child rights, such as “I pledge to educate the people on child rights” and “I pledge to timely report child protection cases”.

Share this:

Related news