UNICEF Regional Chief visits Côte d’Ivoire during key democratic transition
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 29 November 2010 – The UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, conducted a three-day visit in Côte d’Ivoire a country going through historical presidential elections.
Children have born the heavy burden of the last decade of social and political instability. The Regional Director visited a community health initiative led by the Ministry of Health with support of UNICEF in the densely populated Abobo district of Abidjan.
He met with community health workers who provide valuable health information and care to households. This initiative has led to improvement on basic family health practices such as breastfeeding, hand washing, use of Oral Rehydration Salts in case of diarrhoea.
Rotigliano interacted with young mothers who have received health care before, during and after pregnancy for the well being of children, thanks to UNICEF supported health activities in the communities.
Because they now have the knowledge they can also bring their kids to the health centre to receive professional care. "Irene and Nadine your children are healthy. You should be seen as example of good practices for other women to keep their babies in good shape" said Dr. Rotigliano to the mothers in Abobo.
While the country was seen as a role model in the region for its primary education system in the eighties, nowadays only half of the children attend school on a regular basis. Children rights have also taken a setback with low birth registration, an increase in sexual violence, high infant and maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS prevalence.
Many schools and clinics were abandoned or destroyed and violence became rampant. While in Cote d’Ivoire, Gianfranco Rotigliano met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gervais Kacou, to reassure the government that UNICEF and its partners stand ready to continue to work closely with the government that will emerge from the current electoral process.
The Regional Director met with the American and Japanese Ambassadors and with members of the European Union Delegation who have been strong supporters of UNICEF activities throughout the socio-political turmoil and the ongoing transition. Rotigliano conferred his gratitude for putting valuable resources in making sure that children’s rights are upheld during the decade of instability.
Gianfranco Rotigliano also discussed with the United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations orientations for a successful transition. He reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to work in close collaboration to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
Speaking on national radio at the end of his Cote d’Ivoire tour, Rotigliano said: "we are confident that peaceful and transparent elections will give a clear signal to the international community the crisis is definitely over and that the elected government will put children rights such as health, education and protection on top of its agenda to catch up with the past setback of the last decade. "
For more information, please contact: