Access to medical services has improved noticeably since 2004. Children, pregnant women, and mothers with seven or more children are now assured of free medical services. Children up to five years of age receive free medication, and pregnant women receive iron and folic acid supplements. Over ninety per cent of children in the country are vaccinated against polio, tuberculosis, diphtheria, mumps, rubella, measles, and hepatitis B. Of all pregnant women, 99.5 per cent benefit from certified antenatal assistance, and births are attended by qualified medical personnel in 99.6 per cent of cases.
Training of health workers, accompanied by donations of equipment and instruction on how to use it, have considerably improved the quality of services, reducing the infant and maternal mortality rates. However, the number of child deaths in Moldova is higher than in European countries. Perinatal disorders, respiratory illnesses, congenital malformations, and injuries remain the principal causes of infant mortality. A large number of the deaths at home (20 per cent of the total number of infant deaths) were from causes that could have been prevented if the parents had better knowledge about childcare and, most important, had requested a doctor's assistance in time.
For Moldovan children to be healthier and to have access to quality medical services, UNICEF supports the Government through health programs.
1. UNICEF supported the Government to elaborate and implement the main health policies: National Health Policy, Health System Development Strategy, National Perinatal Programmes, National Immunization Programme, National Immunization Strategy, National Strategy on Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses, National Programme on Eradication of Iodine Deficiency Disorders etc.
2. UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health to elaborate Basic Package of Medical Services and advocate for including free medicine for children under 5 years, folic acid and iron supplements for pregnant women within this package.
3. UNICEF contributed to the training of hundreds of medical workers on immunizations, child healthcare, and preventing transmission of infections from mother to foetus. Likewise, parents were trained how to monitor the risks related to pregnancy and early child development.
4. A network of youth-friendly health centres improved access of young people to information, advice, and health services.
5. Due to the UNICEF, radio and TV campaigns were take place to increase people's confidence in immunizations. As a result, the vaccination rate for most childhood diseases is over 95 per cent.
6. An innovative communication campaign informed over one million people about the benefits of iodized salt.
With the help of UNICEF, the Government of Moldova is able to procure various vaccines, including those used for outbreaks and epidemics. An example was the epidemic of mumps in 2008 when 310,000 doses of vaccine were brought to the country with the help of UNICEF to stop the spread of the disease.