UNICEF flagship report launched in Ankara
UNICEF’s flagship report, ‘The State of the World’s Children 2008’, was launched in Turkey.
Ankara, 23 January 2008- This launch coincided with similar events taking place in all parts of the globe. Child Survival, the theme of this year’s report, is “a very sensitive indicator for monitoring a nation’s development”, UNICEF Turkey Representative Reza Hossaini told journalists. According to the report, 9.7 million children still die before the age of five.
In his first official public ceremony since he took office in January, Reza Hossaini, UNICEF Representative in Turkey, highlighted past achievements in the reduction of child mortality and the disparities between different regions of the world. He declared himself optimistic that the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 were achievable, provided there is increased government commitment, improved coordination and collaboration between international, national and local agencies for provision of well focused, integrated basic package of services. “Investment in mother and child health is not only a human rights imperative, but also a sound economic investment,” Hossaini said.
Turning to Turkey, the Representative suggested that focusing on the new-born will help to achieve further reductions in the child mortality rate. He commended the media on their interest in the launch, which, he said, “clearly indicates a commitment to children’s well-being.”
Situation in Turkey
Dr Turan Buzgan, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, presented an overview of the situation in Turkey, where economic and social trends and the efforts of the authorities have contributed to a sharp reduction in the child mortality rate. He pointed to the impact of baby-friendly hospitals, increased access to prenatal care and improvements in immunisation rates. He noted, for example, that there had been only three cases of measles in Turkey in 2007. Deputy Undersecretary Buzgan said that the Government was targeting an infant mortality rate of no more than 15 per thousand by 2013, compared to an estimated 21.6 in 2007. The infant mortality rate refers to children dying before the age of one, who in Turkey account for about 90% of all under-five deaths. He also suggested that the fertility rate would work out at 2.0 in 2008, compared to 2.2 in 2003.
About the report
‘The State of the World’s Children 2008’ contains detailed information about child survival in the various regions of the world. It summarizes the lessons learned from evolving health care systems and successful community partnerships. Recommendations include: concentrating on those countries and communities which have the highest child mortality rates and levels; packaging essential services together; strengthening community partnerships; ensuring a continuum of care across the life-cycle, and taking a results-oriented approach to health system development. The report also stresses the crucial role of political commitment, leadership and sustained financing. As every year, the report provides over 40 pages of tabulated data on economic, demographic, environmental, nutritional, health, education, gender and child protection issues which affect the well-being of children and women, permitting comparisons between regions and countries.