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Early years

© UNICEF/Armenia 2007/Igor Dashevskiy

Low budget expenditures in the social sector is one of the most important factors that has affected the quality of primary health services in Armenia. Children and women are the ones most affected by the impact of the deterioration of the health care system

The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in Armenia in 2005 indicated that 13 per cent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition which may be attributed to both the limited ability of parents to ensure a minimum diet for their children, and poor parental skills on sound nutrition and care practices. Moreover, according to the same survey the rate of malnutrition in rural areas is twice as high as in urban areas. Overall, more than one-third of children aged 6-59 months have anaemia, with some variations among the regions (DHS 2005).

Over the past five years, however, Armenia has recorded certain progress in improving primary health services for women and children. The number of children dying before reaching five years old has decreased from 60 per 1,000 live births in 1991-1995 to 35 in 2000 and 30 in 2005.

The most recent DHS showed that the proportion of births delivered at home has declined from 9 percent in 2000 to 2 percent in 2005. Assistance at delivery from a health professional is nearly universal in Armenia (98 %).

However, in some socially disadvantaged communities parents are sometimes unable to timely register their children at birth due to administrative barriers and high transport costs.

The country was able to sustain high immunization rates mainly due to assistance from UNICEF. There has been significant progress in reduction of morbidity of vaccine preventable diseases and in 2002 the country was declared polio free.

In 2007 UNICEF, jointly with the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Armenia, will launch a mass Measles and Rubella Elimination Campaign that will target 1.7 million people aged 6-27.

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