The proverbial visitor from Mars would look at how our society treats children and form a view that there is some inconsistency. On one hand we say that the children are the future but, on the other, decisions are often made to the detriment of children and the benefit of adults.

Whether one agrees or not with lockdowns, it is children who are most adversely affected through loss of education and the anxiety and fear from not being able to play with or see friends. As we know, young children tend to internalise matters and assume that whatever happens to them is because of what they have done.

Dr Joe Kosterich, Clinical Editor

It is to be hoped that the long-term mental health problems will not be as bad as has been predicted and that for once when the cry of “who will think of the children” goes out there may be some action rather than hand wringing.

On the positive side, as a cohort, children and teens are generally healthier than adults. In turn, health issues that do affect children can get less airtime and research dollars. This month we highlight work being done here in WA to improve outcomes from burn injuries and brain cancer. Use of video-laryngoscopy and the role of the complex airways team is something most of us outside the hospital system will not be familiar with and makes for fascinating reading. Research into genetic screening is also examined.

Sleep apnoea is a condition we associate more with adults. However, children can be affected as well. Diagnosis and treatment are looked at, as is management of a common issue – blocked tear ducts.

On all health indicators, Indigenous citizens do worse than the broader population and this also applies to middle ear infections. Untreated this can impact language development, education and future prospects in life. A project in the South Metro region is working to improve outcomes. Without fanfare they are getting on with the job and to use a footy term “kicking goals”.

Sleep apnoea is a condition we associate more with adults. However, children can be affected as well.

Despite political point scoring, the vaccine rollout is gathering pace and by year’s end we will likely be at 60% or more. Where the UK is now shows that there is light at the end of the lockdown and mask tunnel. They used the AZ vaccine (mainly) in all age groups. Singapore is moving to reporting hospitalisations rather than positive test numbers. 

Australia did well. Other countries have caught up. We need to learn from what is working in other countries.