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Children should be protected from the economic crisis

UNICEF CEECIS Regional Director Marie-Pierre Poirier in Croatia advocated for protecting most vulnerable children during the economic crisis

Photo: UNICEF Croatia

UNICEF CEECIS Regional Director Marie-Pierre Poirier (3rd from right) and UNICEF Croatia Head of Office Lora Vidovic with children reporters from Opatija and Zabok in Croatia.

ZAGREB, Croatia, 28 September 2012 - During her first visit to Croatia CEE/CIS Regional Director Marie-Pierre Poirier witnessed first-hand the progress for children made in Croatia, but also discussed the equity gaps with the President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic, Ombusperson for Children Mila Jelavic and members of the Croatian Government.

“When economies are squeezed we must make sure that children are protected and not the first to suffer. We must join together to advocate to ensure that children are not paying the price of the crisis and that budgets related to social services for children are not cutback.”, Marie-Pierre Poirier said during the opening of the 6th International Conference “Child in the City”, taking place in awarded child-friendly City of Zagreb, an 26-28 September, 2012.

For the first time, children also participated in the “Child in the City” conference. Young participants from Croatia and Slovenia prepared series of messages for conference participants inviting them to listen to children more, and include them in the city plans. During his meeting with UNICEF Regional Director, President of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic thanked UNICEF for supporting the well-being of Croatian children, especially in the areas of bullying prevention, support to the development of quality foster care, young child development and parents’ education.

On Thursday, 27 September, Marie-Pierre Poirier together with the Croatian Deputy Minister of Health, dr. Marijan Cesarik awarded maternity ward Merkur “Baby Friendly”, thus emphasising the importance of creating conditions for best start in life for every baby. This is the 24th Baby Friendly Hospital awarded maternity ward. Now, more than 70% of all maternity wards in Croatia are compliant with the global standards created by WHO and UNICEF to ensure support to mothers and children in breast-feeding worldwide. Together they have congratulated the committed hospital staff, including nurses that are crucial in supporting mothers and new-borns during the first days. During the visit to the maternity ward, Marie-Pierre Poirier had a brief discussion with parents at the Childbirth preparation class in Merkur Hospital about their experiences and challenges while expecting the new baby in the family.

During the visit, Marie-Pierre Poirier also met with UNICEF supporters – young people and volunteers that help advance UNICEF’s mission in Croatia.

The visit concluded today with the discussion about UNICEF’s contribution to the social welfare reform, in particular the process of deinstitutionalisation and data analysis with the leading experts from the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth.

 

 
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