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Child survival

work-child-survial.
© UNICEF Bangladesh/2005/Kiron
Children are vaccinated at their primary school in Bogra on National Immunization Day, Rajshahi division.

In order to reduce rates of childhood death, UNICEF supports immunization, child illness management and injury-prevention programmes.

Immunization
UNICEF continues to support nationwide immunization drives against measles, tetanus, hepatitis, polio and other childhood diseases. Progress is encouraging:
  • 88 per cent of children under the age of one are vaccinated against measles, compared to 77 per cent in 2004. 
  • Bangladesh regained polio-free status after an imported case was discovered in 2006.
  • Rates of neonatal tetanus are declining, with only 152 cases reported in 2008.

UNICEF works with the World Health Organization and the Government to increase access to vaccines in 15 low-performing districts. Activities include cold-chain management for local health services and social mobilization programmes that encourage families to bring all children for the full series of immunizations.

Illness
Encouraging families to seek treatment for sick children, particularly those suffering symptoms of pneumonia, infection, diarrhoea, malaria or malnutrition, is extremely important. UNICEF supports behaviour change campaigns and social mobilization activities to raise public awareness of the risks to child health. The number of children under the age of five who are taken to health-care providers when suffering symptoms of pneumonia has increased from 20 to 30 per cent between 2004 and 2007to 37 per cent..  

In order to improve the standard of care available to children at health facilities, UNICEF provides new equipment, trains staff and improves patient management systems. UNICEF supports the integrated management of childhood illness in over 200 health facilities at sub-district level. UNICEF currently supports projects in almost 300 sub-district health facilities for the integrated management of childhood illness. In these facilities, the quality of care improved by 50 per cent between 2006 and 2007.

rural-swimming-lesson
© UNICEF Bangladesh/2006/Munem Wasif
Children learn to swim in a fenced section of the local pond in rural Raiganj, Dhaka division.

Injury
Under UNICEF’s pilot project on injury prevention, selected schools have introduced injury-prevention and disaster-preparedness classes. Community-based initiatives include swimming lessons for children aged four to ten and village crèches for younger children. Community workers run courtyard meetings and make home-visits to raise awareness among parents about the importance of erecting fences around cooking fires  and water hazards.

The pilot proves that child injury is preventable. Over three years, in the four pilot districts (including three in rural Bangladesh and one urban area):
  • Drowning deaths among children aged 1 to 4 reduced by 44 per cent.
  • Injuries among children aged 1 to 17 reduced by 32 per cent.
  • Hospitalization of children decreased by one third.

UNICEF is advocating for a national strategy on child injury prevention to curb rates of injury-related death, the biggest killer of children over the age of one. Material developed for the school pilot is being distributed to primary schools nationwide as a supplement to the standard primary education curriculum.

Download the Child survival and Injury prevention factsheets

 

 

 

 

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