In the field of mother, child and adolescents health, UNICEF is cooperating with the Ministry of Health to contribute to the achievement of improved health and nutrition indicators of infants, children and women, through improving access to and quality of maternal and child health services, particularly neonatal care,
HEALTH & NUTRITION
In the field of mother, child and adolescents health, UNICEF is cooperating with the Ministry of Health to contribute to the achievement of improved health and nutrition indicators of infants, children and women, through improving access to and quality of maternal and child health services, particularly neonatal care, adolescent health, and nutrition. In line with health sector reform, UNICEF is actively involved in policy development, in development of reliable and disaggregated data collection for informed decision-making, in capacity development at central and regional levels, in health promotion and development of quality assurance system.
The national statistics demonstrate quite high proportion of neonatal mortality (more than 70% of infant deaths in 2011) in the structure of infant mortality with substantial disparities in accessibility to neonatal services. UNICEF is supporting MOH in improving neonatal care at policy level trough development of national strategy and standards on Intensive Neonatal Care and at institutional level through establishing intensive care units and upgrading skills of health providers at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Since the start of the country programme, the access to quality neonatal services for children born in the regions has increased with the set-up of intensive neonatal care units in 6 regional hospitals, benefitting 30% of newborns.
ADOLESCENTS' HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT
The UNICEF supported study on Health System Responsiveness Towards School-age Children and Adolescents revealed a number of problems that include inadequate access and availability of age-appropriate health services; an insufficient routine check-up system; and insufficient information/education on healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. With UNICEF intensive advocacy during the past three years, the need to address issues related to adolescents’ health and development have gained a consensus among key authorities from health, education and child protection sectors confirmed by endorsement of a conceptual framework on strengthening services for adolescents. Further elaboration of a model of school-based adolescents’ health services will be based on basic principles of inter-sectoral holistic approach.
According to DHS 2010 the nutritional status of children is deteriorating: stunting increased to 19% for children below 5 during the period 2005-2010. DHS also reported a substantial prevalence of anaemia among preschool children (37%) and women of childbearing age (25%). All of the nutrition indicators have almost reached the threshold at which they would be considered as an emergency public health issue. Nutrition is considered as one of the areas where inequities are more evident. During the last three years UNICEF has positioned itself as the leading agency in nutrition sector supporting the Government in strengthening policy framework and public health interventions. Key areas of intervention include the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding, parental education in nutrition practices, and the implementation of the flour fortification intervention. With UNICEF technical support nutrition as an area prioritized by the country is being included in MTEF with its reflection within the state budget in a separate budget line.
In addition UNICEF is intensively cooperating with MOH to contribute to the national effort in reducing out-of-pocket payments by securing an increase in public health spending; investing in maternal and child health, with an emphasis on health promotion and preventive interventions and developing and introducing quality assurance and referral mechanisms, particularly targeting services on mother and child health and nutrition.