As one can see from data available in Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 3, the child mortality rate in Montenegro is 10 and 99% of women have skilled attendant at delivery. This is a positive trend, but it is not valid for the Roma minority, where the mortality of children and women is higher than the national average. The same can be said for other data provided by MICS that represent the national average and not in particular the marginalized groups of children - Roma, refugees, poor children and children with disabilities. For example, we see that 68% of children have all 8 recommended vaccinations according to the national immunization schedule and that 98% of children under 5 are registered at birth. However, a reasearch conducted only among marginalized groups of children would provide us with different figures.
MICS data indicate that children are not adequately fed in Montenegro. Only 25% of women breastfeed their babies within the first hour after delivery. Moreover, only 19% continue to exclusively breastfeed the child during the first 6 months. MICS points out that less educated women living in the north and in rural areas are more prone to breastfeeding in Montenegro. Also, 13% of children under 5 are overweighed, which confirms that inadequate feeding practice is present during early childhood.
Prenatal care, parental education and support to mothers with post delivery depression are missing in Montenegro. Recently, UNICEF supported the opening of the first prenatal and parental education centre in Danilovgrad. The fact that only 5% of mothers are familiarized with 2 danger signs of pneumonia - fast breathing and difficult breathing - points out to an evident need for parental education on most common children diseases and appropriate treatments. Also, keeping in mind that 53% of childhood accidents happen at home and that in 63% of cases parents are present when they occur, awareness raising among parents on designing a safe environment for children and on first aid is needed. Programmes providing information to parents on the importance of play, early learning, reading and other stimulating activities for children would be of great use to Montenegro's parents as well. 77% of children under 5 have children's books at home and only 14% of children under 5 have 3 or more playthings to play with at home. More children in urban areas have access to children's books than in rural areas. Finally, special support programmes to single mothers, families with children with disabilities and marginalized families in general need to be developed.
Parents' education becomes significant when child discipline is analysed as well. In Montenegro, MICS found out that 61% of children 2-14 years are subjected to at least one form of psychological or physical punishment by their mothers/caretakers. More importantly, 6% of children were subjected to severe physical punishment. Mother's education is strongly correlated with the child disciplining methods used, as less educated mothers more often use violence.
Preschool coverage is quite low in Montenegro, as only 30% of children 3-5 years old attend some form of organized eary childhood education programme. The percentage of children attending preschools in the south is greater than in the central and north regions of Montenegro. Preschool education attendance is important for making children ready for primary school, as well as for stimulating child development, as it is well recognized that a period of rapid brain development occurs in the first 3-4 years of life.
Early Years Statistics