Story published in July 2015
She is nearly four. But friends and family members all delight in calling Dhanica Camacho “Seven”, a nickname befitting a child whose birth officially brought the world’s population to 7 billion.
The United Nations gave her that title on October 31, 2011, to put a human face to the challenges of a growing world population.
Dhanica, born at Manila’s Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in the Philippines, was introduced to the world under the glare of television cameras and an explosion of camera flash bulbs. Her photo made the front page of national and foreign newspapers. Video clips from news bulletins discussing her birth were posted on YouTube.
“Mama, this is me!” the lively Filipino girl calls out today when she sees herself on the screen.
Since her birth, the outside world has largely forgotten Dhanica, says her mother, Camille. “Sometimes we question what it really means to be the 7 billionth baby,” she adds.
Yet in reality, Dhanica’s plight encapsulates more than ever the strains of an increasingly crowded, urbanised and energy-needy world.