April 7 is World Health Day and this year is dedicated to the theme Our planet, Our health. The aim is to focus global attention on the urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
The celebration offers and occasion to reflect, which even more important now in the midst of the ongoing pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine, another great crisis which unfortunately has already made victims of many, including the youngest, and has very serious repercussions for adults and children on all fronts.
We must reaffirm the centrality of the issue underlined by that fundamental document for the protection of children and adolescents , the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Adolescents, which in paragraph 1 of Article 24 itself affirms "the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health". The same Article provides that States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and shall take all appropriate measures in a number of areas, including the reduction of infant and child mortality, ensuring the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children and combatting disease and malnutrition.
On the occasion of World Health Day we present a series of institutional and other websites along with a variety of e-books and other materials to help explore the theme of health and children/adolescents.
Some of the highlights of the institutional sites include the ''Children's health'' section of the Ministry of Health website; the ''Women's, children's and adolescents' health'' section of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità website; Epicentro (https://www.epicentro.iss.it/), the epidemiology site of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità intended for those working in the national health service which contains extensive information on health, children and adolescents. Updates and documents on the topic can also be found on the websites of the Italian Society of Paediatrics, the Cultural Association of Paediatricians and the Centre for Child Health.
With regard to publications, we suggest the volume of the Regional Documentation Centre for Children and Adolescents Girls and boys in Tuscany in the time of Covid-19. Changes in lifestyle, relationships and prospects for the future (2021). The publication presents the results of research carried out by the Tuscany Region in collaboration with the Regional Schools Office and the Regional Centre to understand how the health crisis has contributed to changing the perception of well-being among girls and boys in Tuscany and investigate the impact that Covid-19 has had on their lives and their way of perceiving the present and, above all, the future. The survey involved a sample of 4,000 Tuscan students between the ages of 11 and 17 distributed among schools throughout the region. The publication is available on a dedicated page of the Regional Centre website.
Mental health is the focus of the UNICEF e-book The State of the World's Children 2021. On My Mind. Promoting, protecting and caring for children's mental health (2021), available on a dedicated page of the organisation's website. According to the latest available estimates contained in the report, more than one in seven adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 lives with a diagnosed mental health disorder. Anxiety and depression account for 40% of diagnosed mental health disorders and nearly 46,000 adolescents die from suicide each year. According to the report, even before the Covid-19 pandemic children and young people carried the burden of mental health issues in the absence of significant investments to address the problem. Covid-19 has had an additional negative impact and younger generations may feel the effects of the pandemic on their mental health and well-being for many years to come.
Unicef Italia has also published the handbook ''Protect one child. Protect them all. Vaccines save lives. 10 questions on vaccinations (2021), available on a dedicated page of the organisation's website.
Also worthy of note: the update published on the UNICEF website on the occasion of World Health Day which presents a mapping of good practices on psychosocial support services and mental health for unaccompanied foreign children and young migrants and refugees living in Italy; the UNICEF website page dedicated to health - which contains in-depth information, useful links and documents on the subject; and the update on World Autism Awareness Day published on the Ministry of Health website, which contains data and information on Ministry initiatives and links exploring the topic.
Finally, we present the legal framework on the right to health created by the National Centre for Documentation and Analysis for Children and Adolescents, and the following research materials selected by the Biblioteca Innocenti Library A.C. Moro: bibliographic research on health; bibliographic research on mental health; bibliography and webliography on eating disorders; virtual reference desk on autism.
Other materials and updates can be found on this website under the topic Well-being and Health accessible under the "Themes" menu.