The children

Early years

Primary school years

Adolescence

 

Early years

At a glance:

  • Infant mortality rate is 18 per 1,000 live births
  • More than 95 per cent of children are immunized against ten vaccine-preventable diseases
  • 56 per cent of children aged between 3 and 6 have no access to pre-school education
  • Only 60,3 per cent of households use adequately iodized salt

Albania is the ‘youngest’ country in Europe, with 40 per cent of the population 18 and younger. Children are generally getting healthier year by year, but the country still has the highest child and maternal death rates in Europe. Infant mortality rate and nutrition status are closely linked to poverty level. The proportion of deaths caused by acute respiratory infections has fallen from 32 per cent to 19 per cent, and deaths from diarrhoeal diseases fell from 8 per cent to 3 per cent. With drop of infectious diseases the perinatal conditions and congenital anomalies are getting more frequent with 19% and 10% of total number of infant deaths. Malnutrition is a serious concern affecting 22% of children
Although government action in health promotion and preventive care is improving, the primary health care system still suffers from limited resources, poor financing mechanisms, unreliable data and lack of standards and equipment. Health is especially poor in the north and in rural areas due to poverty and inadequate health facilities. One good sign is  national commitment to vaccination – the government has pledged to maintain high levels of child immunization and paid for 100 per cent of total vaccines in 2007.
Only 18 per cent of pregnant women have an antenatal care visit during the first trimester. However, 95 per cent of pregnant women receive care at some point before giving birth. The maternal mortality rate is 26 per 100,000, and 90 per cent of mothers give birth in maternity hospitals. Seventy per cent of mothers are breastfeeding exclusively at the end of the first month, and 39 per cent at the end of six months.

Many parents do not understand the importance of children’s pre-school years, especially in poor areas of the north and overcrowded informal settlements that have sprung up around the capital since 1991. Believing that education begins at school, they fail to offer appropriate stimulation for young children, and physical punishment is common. Children’s access to quality pre-school education has fallen dramatically.

Since the 1990s, 15,000 pre-school teachers have been dismissed and 1,736 pre-schools have closed nationwide, 72 per cent of them in rural areas. Almost every child attended pre-school during the Communist period, but in 2003, only 44 per cent of children attend nationwide.
This figure falls to 13 per cent in rural areas. As funding and standards have declined, so has the quality of services in crèches and kindergartens. Inadequate pre-schooling reduces primary school enrolment, undermines children’s healthy development and hinders their ability to succeed in school.

Some statistics may differ from UNICEF's official data due to differences such as definitions and sample size. Complete official UNICEF data can be found on the main UNICEF website at http://www.unicef.org/

Kids playing
© UNICEF Albania/04-0425/G. Pirozzi
Playing at a Garden of Mothers and Children in Tirana

Since the 1990s, 15,000 pre-school teachers have been dismissed and 1,736 pre-schools have closed nationwide, 72 per cent of them in rural areas. Almost every child attended pre-school during the Communist period, but in 2003, only 44 per cent of children attend nationwide.

This figure falls to 13 per cent in rural areas. As funding and standards have declined, so has the quality of services in crèches and kindergartens. Inadequate pre-schooling reduces primary school enrolment, undermines children’s healthy development and hinders their ability to succeed in school.

Some statistics may differ from UNICEF's official data due to differences such as definitions and sample size. Complete official UNICEF data can be found on the main UNICEF website at http://www.unicef.org/

 

 
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