Moldova, Republic of

Background


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Poverty remains widespread in Moldova, especially in rural areas. But Parliament’s adoption of a new national development plan (a continuation of the economic growth and poverty-reduction programme) demonstrates a serious commitment to improving conditions for women and children.

Issues facing children in Moldova

  • Thousands of Moldovan children grow up without the care of one or both of their parents. More than 8,800 children are in institutions, deprived of family care. In tens of thousands of other families, one or both parents leave their children to work abroad because they cannot find jobs locally.
  • Parents have little knowledge of risks to children’s health in early childhood. Only a little more than half of infants are exclusively breastfed; 60 per cent of Moldovan households use iodized salt. Thousands of babies each year are born with intellectual impairment because of iodine deficiency during pregnancy.
  • Nearly a third of toddlers are at risk of brain damage because of iron deficiency. Anaemia rates have nearly doubled since 2001. The increase is even more severe among the poor.
  • The incidence of HIV/AIDS is increasing; more than half of cases are from sexual contact. Since the introduction of universal testing for pregnant women, the number of HIV/AIDS cases detected has increased five-fold.
  • Poor families have a difficult time paying for school and often do not see their children’s education translating into better jobs.

Activities and results for children

  • Maternal mortality rates have recently been dropping. In 2004, the government, at UNICEF’s urging, passed legislation ensuring all pregnant women and children free access to essential health services like prenatal care, obstetric care and immunization.
  • UNICEF and its partners have trained hundreds of health care workers in immunization, child health, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of infectious diseases. Parents have also been educated in how to monitor risks associated with pregnancy and early childhood development.
  • Moldova is polio-free. Thanks in part to UNICEF’s extensive TV and radio campaign to increase public trust of immunization, vaccination rates for major childhood illnesses are above 95 per cent. The government continues to take on more financial responsibility for these vaccines.
  • An innovative interpersonal communication campaign has informed nearly 1 million people about the benefits of iodized salt.
  • A network of youth health centres and clinics has improved young people’s access to information, advice and services relating to HIV/AIDS.
  • The government has adopted a UNICEF-endorsed Education for All strategy, which will increase access to quality primary and secondary schools. The re-opening of 100 pre-schools over the past two years has improved pre-school enrolment rates.
  • Several new laws have been passed to protect child victims of abuse, violence, trafficking and exploitation.

 

 

Country Setting

Location: Eastern Europe, northeast of Romania
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