Infancy (0-5 years)
© © UNICEF/Djibouti/Pirozzi/0024
Much of the children’s survival depends on the circumstances in which the mother will have lived her pregnancy, the quality of medical protection and the delivery conditions: the Djiboutian child has 50 chances more of losing their mother in delivery than a European or American child. This is due to the fact that one woman out of two does not have a correct prenatal medical checkup that complicates delivery. As she is not informed of her HIV status, she runs the risk of contaminating her child.
The probability of a Djiboutian child surviving to its first birthday is one of the lowest in the region (about one child out of ten dies before they are aged 12 months); this is also the case for children under five years of age.
The first right of a child which is to be registered at birth by the Civil Registry, is still very often not guaranteed. More than one child out of five does not have a birth certificate , a document which symbolizes the first recognition of the child’s existence the State, of their identity, their due right to health, protection and to all the others rights that children are entitled to.
In spite of all the progress that has been achieved in the Expanded Programme Immunization, almost one child out of five still does not have that minimal protection against children’s most common diseases.
The recommended practice of exclusive breastfeeding to the age of six months is impaired by some traditional custom such as offering the baby water and sugar or cow milk butter which lead to diarrhea and malnutrition.
At the end of the breastfeeding period, the young child goes through a difficult period from the age of 8 to 18 months; the weaning phase when they are affected by malnutrition .This is a cause of mortality among children and a factor that impairs their development with non reversible effects on the intellectual capacity of any individual.
At three, the child who has already been weaned is given much less attention with the probable birth of a younger brother or sister. They are usually less attended to and stimulated by the family circle which causes the lack of opportunity to learn and develop language skills.
Preschool education and other infancy programs are rarely available and where they exist, they are often private and accommodate very few children.
Little girls are usually subjected to feminine genital mutilations between the age of 2 and 5; those mutilations may cause a lot of serious sanitary conditions and trauma among them.
Little access to water, sanitation and hygiene is an important cause of children’s diseases among which diarrhea is at the first place and also infant mortality. Little access to potable water is an important issue in Djibouti mainly in rural areas where only one out of two individuals has access to a developed water source.