Press releases and news notes
Lack of toilets dangerous for everyone, UNICEF says
NEW YORK, 19 November 2014 – Slow progress on sanitation and the entrenched practice of open defecation among millions around the world continue to put children and their communities at risk, UNICEF warned on World Toilet Day.
Spike in measles deaths among children troubling, UNICEF says
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 13 November 2014 – UNICEF today expressed alarm at new data showing that the number of child deaths from measles jumped from an estimated 122,000 in 2012 to 145,700 in 2013.
Steep drop in pneumonia deaths in last decade, but much further to go – UNICEF
NEW YORK, 12 November 2014 – Significant declines in child deaths from pneumonia prove that strategies to defeat the disease are working, UNICEF said on the sixth World Pneumonia Day. But much more is needed to stop hundreds of thousands of children from succumbing to this preventable illness each year.
Progress for children in South Asia, but inequalities still exist: UNICEF report
New York, 11 September 2014 – According to a new UNICEF report released today, over the last 25 years, there has been progress in the health and well-being of children in South Asia, but glaring inequalities remain.
A letter from UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week 2014
NEW YORK, 1 August 2014 -- "Giving all children the best start in life begins with breastfeeding – one of the simplest, smartest, and most cost-effective ways we have of supporting healthier children, stronger families, and sustainable growth.
Newborns move to the top of the child survival agenda
JOHANNESBURG, 1 July 2014 – At the conclusion of a global forum here focused on preventing maternal, child and newborn deaths, UNICEF said the commitments made by governments and public and private sector organizations have the potential to transform the outlook for newborn babies, millions of whom die each year.
Preventing newborn deaths must be a global priority: UNICEF
TORONTO, 29 May 2014 - Every minute, 10 babies die or are stillborn across the world, a staggering 5.5 million lives ended every year just as they start. The majority of those deaths are from preventable causes, including prematurity, childbirth complications and newborn infections.
New Lancet Series finds counting births and deaths is an indicator of progress towards ending 3 million preventable infant deaths
LONDON, 20 May 2014 - Each year, 5.5 million babies enter and leave the world without being recorded and one in three newborns—over 45 million babies—do not have a birth certificate by their first birthday. Babies who are stillborn, born too early, or who die soon after birth are least likely to be registered, even in high-income countries.
Almost 3 million newborns could be saved each year – UNICEF
NEW YORK, 20 May 2014 – A ground-breaking series of papers released by The Lancet at UNICEF Headquarters today shows that the majority of the almost 3 million children who die before they turn one month old could be saved if they received quality care around the time of birth – with a particular focus on the most vulnerable and under-served.
Some 35 million more children under five at risk if child mortality goal not met
NEW YORK, 13 September 2013 - A new UNICEF report shows that if current trends continue, the world will not meet Millennium Development Goal 4 – to cut the rate of under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Worse, if current trends continue, the goal will not be reached until 2028.
UN: Global child deaths down by almost half since 1990
NEW YORK, 13 September 2013 – In 2012, approximately 6.6 million children worldwide – 18,000 children per day – died before reaching their fifth birthday, according to a new report released today by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank Group and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division. This is roughly half the number of under-fives who died in 1990, when more than 12 million children died.
Media advisory: UNICEF, WHO expert briefing on release of global under-five child mortality numbers
What: A telephone briefing to release the latest global and regional data on child mortality and neo-natal deaths from 1990, when data collection began, to 2013. The new figures contain new perspectives on issues such as the acceleration of progress in some regions, differences between poor and rich countries, the number of children at risk if goals are not met, and much more.
Syria conflict leaves invisible scars on children
AMMAN/GENEVA, 10 September 2013 – Prolonged exposure to violence and stress, multiple displacement, loss of friends and family members, and a severe deterioration in living conditions are leaving the children of Syria with lasting scars, UNICEF said today.
Most difficult place to grow up: Somalia has the world’s highest child mortality rate
NAIROBI, Kenya, 16 September 2011 – Stricken by chronic conflict and recurring drought for decades, Somalia now has the world’s highest mortality rate for children under the age of five...
New survey reveals Niger on track towards reaching MDG-4 of reducing child mortality rate
NIAMEY, Niger 6 June 2011 - In one of the poorest countries on the globe, reducing child mortality and improving the health of the most vulnerable children is a...
DR Congo introduces new vaccine against one of its leading causes of child death
KINSHASA, 4 April 2011 – In an effort to drastically improve the chances of children reaching their fifth birthday, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today....
European Union contributes €6.6 million to help achieve the MDGs on reducing child mortality and improve maternal health in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 4 February 2011 – The European Commission’s Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has provided €6.6 million ($8.1 million) to support UNICEF...
Child mortality rate drops by a third since 1990
NEW YORK, 17 September – The latest United Nations under-five mortality estimates were released today by UNICEF and they show continued progress...
1.3 million Insecticide treated mosquito nets urgently needed to arrest under five deaths in Sierra Leone
Freetown, 10 December 2009 - Significant efforts have been made by both government and development partners to address child survival...
UNICEF and Government of Zimbabwe release new social sectors data
HARARE 24 November 2009 – UNICEF together with the Government of Zimbabwe today released new social development data which revealed...
Global child mortality continues to drop
NEW YORK, 10 September 2009 – UNICEF today released new figures that show the rate of deaths of children under five years of age continued to decline...
UNICEF highlights child survival on the Day of the African Child
NEW YORK, 16 June 2009 – Several African countries have made impressive gains in child survival in recent years but much more needs to be done...
UNICEF and Ministry of Health launch national vitamin A supplementation and de-worming campaign in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN 12 June 2009 – The ten-day national campaign on vitamin A supplementation and de-worming among...
Global commitment announced in fight against leading killer of children
NEW YORK/LECCE, ITALY, 12 JUNE 2009 – A new strategy in the fight against pneumonia, the world’s greatest killer of children, was announced today...
UNICEF and partners mobilise to counter meningitis outbreaks
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 9 April 2009 – In an effort to save lives and contain the spread of meningitis, the GAVI Alliance has agreed to fast-track...
New initiative to reduce child and maternal mortality gets underway in Southern Sudan
TORIT, 20 March 2009 – The Ministry of Health of the Government of Southern Sudan, backed by UNICEF and other partners, today will ...
New nutrition policy for northern states of Sudan to strengthen child health, reduce mortality
KHARTOUM, 19 February 2009 - Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health will unveil a new nutrition policy covering the 15 northern states of the countrY...
Project launched to improve mother and child healthcare in Uzbekistan
TASHKENT, 27 October 2008 – The Government of Uzbekistan, UNICEF and the European Commission have joined together in an effort to improve maternal...
Joint statement on maternal and newborn health
Statement - 25 September 2008
UNICEF: Report highlights risk of maternal mortality in developing world
GENEVA, 19 September 2008 - A new report on maternal mortality, released by UNICEF today, highlights the risks faced during pregnancy and childbirth by women in....
Releasing Declining Numbers for Child Mortality, UNICEF Calls for Increased Efforts to Save Children’s Lives
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 12 September 2008 – UNICEF today released new figures that show the rate of deaths of children under five...
UNICEF Executive Director launches tetanus campaign in Madagascar
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 30 July 2008 – UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman, concluded her visit to Madagascar by launching a tetanus campaign ...
Critical health care fails to reach most women and children in high mortality countries despite gains in fighting child killer diseases
CAPE TOWN, 16 APRIL 2008 – Leading global health experts, policy-makers and parliamentarians are convening in Cape Town today to address the urgent need for accelerated...
The Government of Japan donates US$4 million to support the rehabilitation of schools and health centres in the Republic of the Congo
BRAZZAVILLE, 24 March 2008 - The Government of Japan has announced a grant of more than US$4 million, or 1.8 billion francs CFA, via UNICEF...
UNICEF Executive Director first UN agency head to visit Sierra Leone since the September 2007 elections
FREETOWN, 29 February 2008 - UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman today participated in President Ernest Bai Koroma’s launch of...
Massive displacement in North Kivu following attack near IDP camps
GOMA, 13 November 2007 – An attack by unidentified troops today in North Kivu has caused panic resulting in some 45,000 displaced persons fleeing...
Cholera in Goma IDP camps in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo
GOMA, 12 November 2007 - According to health workers 439 cases of cholera were suspected at the end of October in five IDP camps west of Goma...
More than four million mothers and children to benefit during Madagascar’s third ‘Mother and Child Health Week’
Antananarivo, 30 October 2007 – Today marks the end of Madagascar’s third Mother and Child Health Week, which was officially launched by the Government...
The Japanese government contributes US$19.5 million to help eradicate polio and boost child survival in Africa and Asia
TOKYO/JAPAN, 14 June 2007 - The Government of Japan is contributing some US$19.5 million to UNICEF to boost up the global effort towards polio eradication, and reinforce...
UN decries deaths of children in Mogadishu conflict
NAIROBI / KENYA , 5 February 2007 - Forces involved in the Somalia conflict must engage in dialogue to avoid deaths of children and innocent civilians as happened last week when three children were killed in...
UNICEF-supported report on Maternal and Child Survival in China Launched
BEIJING, 11 January 2007.The report launched today confirms that while China is on-track for reaching MDG's four and five, there remain serious concerns about slowing progress...
Government of Japan provides US$1.604 million to Liberia’s children
MONROVIA/LIBERIA, 13 November 2006 - The Government of Japan has contributed US$1.604 million to UNICEF to support life-saving child immunization coverage.
European Union quenches water and sanitation problems for Zimbabwe’s rural poor
HARARE, 23 August 2006 – The European Union has donated 3.7mEuro (approx US$4.7million) to a UNICEF project that will reach 500,000 Zimbabweans with improved sanitation, hygiene and water facilities. The project focuses on those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Statement of UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman on Lebanon
NEW YORK/GENEVA/BEIRUT, 11 August 2006 – Humanitarian access is urgently needed to reach families and children who are affected by the crisis in the Middle East. Over 900,000 people have fled their homes in Lebanon, many of whom are living in temporary shelters and schools, while nearly 180,000 refugees have crossed the border into Syria.
Campaigning for child nutrition in the Sahel region
NIAMEY, 8 August 2006 – One year after the mobilization of the international community in support of Niger’s food and nutritional crisis, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Esther Guluma, is calling for vigilance towards the nutritional vulnerability of children in the Sahel region. Guluma is addressing the international community to campaign for child nutrition in the Sahel.
Breastfeeding: A simple way to save young lives
NEW YORK, 1 August 2006 – In a developing country, a child who is breastfed is almost three times more likely to survive infancy than a child who is not breastfed, UNICEF said today at the start of World Breastfeeding Week.
‘A tsunami every six months’
Launch of UNICEF’s Child Alert, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – Written by UNICEF UK Ambassador and former BBC War Correspondent, Martin Bell, the report documents the current situation of children affected by conflict in the run up to Congo’s first democratic elections in 40 years.
Child Alert: Democratic Republic of Congo
LONDON, 24 July 2006 - The conflict and violence that has consumed the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for nearly a decade has killed more people every six months than were killed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Estimates place the total deaths at four million, although some experts say the figure is far higher. In a report released today in London, UNICEF said that as victims, children have defined this often forgotten, but world’s deadliest, humanitarian crisis in the heart of Africa.
UNICEF and partners work to stem cholera toll on northern Uganda’s displaced
KAMPALA, 28 June 2006 – UNICEF in Uganda said today that an interagency response to contain separate cholera outbreaks in two conflict-affected districts of the north was contributing to a reduction in cases, but that more could be done in the area of prevention.
One million children in Southern Sudan protected against measles as campaign moves into Unity State
BENTIU, 16 June 2006 – A massive campaign to stop deadly outbreaks of measles in Southern Sudan has passed a key milestone. Over one million children have been immunized since November 2005. The Mass Measles Campaign is a joint effort by the Federal Ministry of Health of the Government of Southern Sudan, WHO and UNICEF targetting 4.5 million children under 15 across all ten states of Southern Sudan. The rolling campaign has now begun in Unity State.
WFP and UNICEF: Bleakest malnutrition situation in Somalia in years
NAIROBI, 16 June 2006 – Recent outbreaks of fighting and the worst drought in a decade have pushed many people in Somalia to their limit, creating the bleakest malnutrition situation in years, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF warned today.
UNICEF Lauds Progress for Uganda’s Children, Urges More Must be Done
KAMPALA, 12 May 2006 – On the occasion of the inauguration of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as President of the Republic of Uganda, UNICEF said that the new government had a critical opportunity to renew the commitment of Uganda to fulfil and protect the fundamental right of all its children and women to access health, education, safe water, shelter and other essential services.
Cholera Outbreak Poses Additional Threat to Child Survival in Angola
GENEVA, 12 May 2006 – Faced with one of the highest under-five mortality rates in the world even in the best of times, Angola is struggling to contain the impact of the current cholera outbreak on children. According to preliminary estimates by UNICEF, approximately 35 per cent of cholera victims are children under the age of five.
A Quarter of the World’s Children Seriously Underweight
NEW YORK, 2 May 2006 - More than one quarter of all children under the age of five in developing countries are underweight, many to a life-threatening degree, says a UNICEF report published today. Poor nutrition remains a global epidemic contributing to more than half of all child deaths, about 5.6 million per year.
Africa Malaria Day – All partners in malaria fight urged to get their ‘ACT’ together
GENEVA, 24 April 2006 – Representatives of the African Union Permanent Delegation, African ambassadors and other Roll Back Malaria partners meeting in Geneva to commemorate Africa Malaria Day called for accelerated action to make sure that life-saving Artemisinin-based Combination Treatments (ACT) get to those who urgently need them - especially in Africa. With a child dying from malaria every 30 seconds, they urged the entire malaria community to support countries to roll out ACTs as quickly as possible.
New Malaria Treatment Introduced in Somalia
NAIROBI, 25 April 2006 – A new effective treatment has been introduced in Somalia to curb the incidence of malaria, one of the leading killers of children and women, UNICEF Somalia Representative Christian Balslev-Olesen announced today on the occasion of Africa Malaria Day.
Chernobyl Anniversary: UNICEF says iodine could have helped to spare many children from thyroid cancer
GENEVA, Wednesday 19 April, 2006: As the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl approaches, UNICEF says that the numbers of children who developed thyroid cancer could have been significantly lower if they had been consuming iodized salt in their daily diet at the time of the accident.
Survival is Greatest Challenge for Haiti's Children
MONTREAL / MADRID, 22 MARCH, 2006 – Children born in Haiti are more likely to die during early childhood than in any other country in the Western Hemisphere, according to ‘Child Alert: Haiti’, a report released by UNICEF today.
Viet Nam Eliminates Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus
HANOI/MANILA/BANGKOK, 28 February, 2006 - Viet Nam has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus as a public health problem, the Ministry of Health of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNICEF announced today.
Bangladesh prepares for its largest public health campaign: 33.5 million children vaccinated against measles in three weeks
DHAKA / GENEVA, 17th February 2006: Bangladesh is getting ready to mount the biggest Measles vaccination campaign in the world from 25th February-16th March 2006. An estimated 33.5 million children aged between 9 months and under 10 years will be vaccinated during the 20 day period.
As leaders prepare to agree Afghan Compact, UNICEF urges “Women and Children First”
Kabul/London/Geneva, 30 January 2006 – As representatives of more than 70 countries sit down tomorrow with leaders of the Afghan Government to shape the reconstruction framework for the nation, UNICEF is urging delegates to maintain a clear focus on the development needs of children and mothers.
Kenya: Worst drought in years threatens children
NAIROBI, 19 December 2005 - UNICEF called urgent attention today to thousands of children in northern Kenya who face malnutrition due to deepening drought.
With an Additional US $1 Billion Per Year, Immunization Could Save Ten Million More Lives in a Decade
NEW DELHI, 9 December, 2005 — According to global immunization experts, ten million additional lives could be saved through child and maternal immunization between 2006-2015 at an average annual cost of US $1 billion, according to a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
UNICEF Executive Director Embarks on Year-End Trip
NEW YORK, 6 December, 2005 - UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman travels to India and the U.K. this week for an international trip that focuses on issues critical to children’s health and protection.
15 Years After Innocenti Declaration, Breastfeeding Saving Six Million Lives Annually
GENEVA/FLORENCE, 22 November 2005 – Six million lives a year are being saved by exclusive breastfeeding, and global breastfeeding rates have risen by at least 15 per cent since 1990, says a report released on the 15th anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding.
Japan donates US$ 5 million to counter malaria outbreak and spread of polio in Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, 15 August 2005 – The Government of Japan today donated US$ 5 million to UNICEF to help wipe out polio and prevent an epidemic of malaria across Ethiopia.
Wednesday in UNICEF House: Launch of report on children in South Asia
The Report presents the condition of health in South Asia and its link to poverty reduction and economic growth. In-depth analysis of the experience of three South Asian countries: India, Bangladesh and Pakistan is included. The report also focuses on the health situation in all seven South Asian countries: Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
In wake of Zimbabwe demolitions, UNICEF calls for global support to alleviate crisis facing children
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 26 JULY 2005 – In the wake of a report by the United Nations Special Envoy regarding home demolitions and evictions in Zimbabwe, UNICEF today repeated calls for an immediate end to the operation and for full humanitarian access to more than 585,000 people who have been made homeless.
5,500 children die in Eastern and Southern Africa every day
NAIROBI, 15 July 2005 - A disproportionately heavy burden of child deaths weighs on families in eastern and southern Africa. Every day 5,500 children under the age of five die across the 21 countries of the region and the majority of the deaths are largely preventable.
New UNICEF Chief Heads to Kenya, Uganda
GENEVA, 19 July 2005 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman travels to Africa this week to spotlight development efforts in Kenya and the plight of Ugandan children caught up in that county's northern conflict.
Niger food crisis increases child deaths
NIAMEY/GENEVA - 12 July 2005 - Acute malnutrition rates have risen to 13.4 per cent in southern Niger Maradi and Zinder Regions, with 2.5 per cent of this group identified as severely malnourished children under age five, says UNICEF quoting recent nutrition surveys by the UN and several NGOs.
UNICEF calls for end to compassion fatigue over Ethiopia’s dying children
ADDIS ABABA, 6 July 2005 – Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the Live 8 concerts in the run up to the G8 summit meeting, donors are showing increasingly worrying signs of compassion fatigue over the plight of Ethiopia’s severely malnourished and dying children, UNICEF warned today.
Governments welcome new WHO/UNICEF global immunization strategy that aims to avert millions of deaths
GENEVA, 25 May, 2005 - Governments meeting at the World Health Assembly officially committed to adopting an ambitious new global strategy to fight vaccine-preventable diseases, which kill more than two million people every year, two-thirds of whom are young children . The Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS) was designed by the WHO and UNICEF.
Three million Angolan children targeted by live-saving health days
LUANDA, ANGOLA, 14th March 2005 – Angola’s commitment to reduce child mortality through routine vaccination and increased access to basic health care moves up a gear.
Bellamy remarks on UN reform: making it work for children
LONDON, 9 March, 2005 - The issue we are dealing with is one literally of life and death. As we reported in this year’s State of the World’s Children, half of all children in the world today suffer from some form of extreme deprivation.
Bellamy remarks at launch of Lancet series on newborns
LONDON, 1 March 2005, I am very pleased to be here representing UNICEF and the committed individuals from across UNICEF who played such a key role in the development of this series. The focus of this series on neonatal deaths is important and timely.
UNICEF welcomes UN Millennium Project "investing in development" report
NEW YORK, 17 January 2005 – UNICEF today welcomed the UN Millennium Project report directed by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and his team, calling it an "indispensable road map to reaching the Millennium Development Goals."
Religious and traditional leaders from across Africa rally for child survival
DAKAR, 18 October 2004 – Religious and traditional leaders and senior media representatives from across the continent are gathering here this week to explore how their unique influence in hard-to-reach communities can boost immunization rates and support child survival efforts in Africa, where two-thirds of child deaths are entirely preventable.
World falling short on promise to reduce child deaths
NEW YORK, 7 October 2004 – New country-by-country data reveals alarmingly slow progress on reducing child deaths despite the availability of proven, low-cost interventions, a UNICEF survey revealed today. UNICEF said that while 90 countries are on track to meet the target of reducing child deaths by two-thirds by 2015, 98 countries are considerably off track, and globally the pace of progress is far too slow.
One in every eight girls out of school in Turkey
Tuesday, 17 June 2003 - One in every eight girls is out of school in Turkey on the eve of the launch of a major new campaign to get girls back into the classroom. The Advocacy Campaign for Girls' Education launched by UNICEF and The Turkish Ministry of National Education today aims to have every girl in school by 2005.(News note)
UN finds one in twelve children dies before age five
GENEVA / NEW YORK, 18 April 2002 - One out of twelve children will die before age five, almost all from preventable causes, the United Nations announced today as it released an updated version of its landmark publication on the world's children. The child mortality rate and other statistics contained in the report lend gravity to the basic United Nations assertion that serious investment in the rights and development of children is essential to overcoming poverty.
Africa fighting back against “hidden hunger” in children
JOHANNESBURG, 7 October 2004 – A report released today says that Africa is fighting back against vitamin and mineral deficiencies, saving millions of women and children from death and debilitation through simple, cost effective strategies such as fortifying staple foods. But millions of children can still be helped if current strategies and partnerships are extended to reach every country and every child.
Child survival threatened by instability in Cote d’Ivoire
DAKAR - 11 November, 2004 - As civil unrest continues to engulf Cote D’Ivoire, UNICEF again calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure basic services and humanitarian access throughout the country. Water and electricity to large parts of the north have been cut for over a week.