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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 17:31 GMT
UN warns of triple child scourges
By Paul Anderson
BBC News, Islamabad

Children orphaned by Aids, Nairobi, Kenya
Children are on the frontline of the Aids scourge
Children are the first to suffer from the scourge of Aids, war and poverty, the head of Unicef has said.

Carol Bellamy said progress had been made on their welfare and human rights but there was still more to be done.

She was speaking in Pakistan three days ahead of the publication in London of a major report by the UN agency, entitled "Childhood under Threat".

She cited Pakistan and Iraq as examples where children's health and education was suffering.

'Total mess'

Ms Bellamy said education in Iraq was a good example, where the country's schools were in her words 'a total mess' - much of it the result of the recent war.

And the UN's children's fund head said countries like Pakistan could do more to address children's health and education interests.

The country has a bloated expenditure on the military and small spending on education so that it lags even behind impoverished neighbours like Bangladesh in many spheres.

Ms Bellamy said 60% of child deaths in Pakistan could be avoided by focusing on a limited number of treatable diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia and neonatal infections.

In the last budget, Pakistan increased spending in the social development sector.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has repeatedly promised to work towards alleviating poverty, but millions of people have yet to feel the results.

Ms Bellamy said Aids and conflict were having an enormous impact on the lives of children and preventing the world from meeting its development goals.

Although advances had been made in children's welfare and human rights, she said more challenges lay ahead.

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