Monday, October 31, 2011

Welcome to the world’s 7 billionth baby

The Times

  • The Philippines-born child was named by the UN as a symbolic 'seven billionth' baby
    The Philippines-born child was named by the UN as a symbolic 'seven billionth' baby EPA
A child born in the Philippines has been welcomed as one of the world’s symbolic “seven billionth” babies, arriving to delighted cheers at a crowded hospital in Manila. Danica May Camacho was delivered just before midnight on Sunday at an event attended by senior United Nations officials.

Weighing 5lb 8oz (2.5kg), Danica, which means “morning star”, is the second child for her parents Camille Dalura and Florante Camacho. “She looks so lovely,” her mother said as she held her. “I can’t believe she is the world’s seven billionth.”

The delivery room in the state-run hospital was crammed with television crews and photographers, as well as UN officials who presented the child and her parents with a cake as she lay on her mother’s chest wearing a knitted red hat.

Among other gifts that Danica has received from well-wishers are a scholarship grant for her education and a package of money with which her parents can open a shop.

Lorrize Mae Guevarra, the girl declared the world’s symbolic six billionth child, who was born in 1999, was also waiting at the hospital to see the baby’s arrival.

“I am very happy to see this cute baby,” she said. “I hope like me she will grow up to become healthy and well loved by everyone.”

The UN labelled October 31 Seven Billion Day to draw attention to the challenges of a growing population, although the accuracy of its projection has been debated, with some groups predicting that the figure is more likely to be reached next year. The United Nations Population Fund, the body behind the campaign, hopes to raise awareness about reproductive health, women’s rights, poverty and inequality.

Countries around the world have held events to celebrate the day with a song contest being organised in Zambia and a concert in Vietnam.

The twelfth most heavily populated country in the world, the Philippines has 94.9 million people, according to a UN report.

The same report also said that 10 per cent of Filipino girls aged 15 to 19 become pregnant, with many of young people increasingly vulnerable to HIV.

Enrique Ona, the country’s Health Secretary, said that the arrival of the world’s seven billionth baby offered his country an opportunity to assess population-related issues.

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