How we work in health

© UNICEF/HQ00-0002/ Pirozzi
An infant, held by his mother, is given an oral polio vaccination by a health worker in a room where other children and women wait to be attended, at a UNICEF-assisted health centre. Tanzania.
UNICEF’s role in advancing child and maternal survival and health extends across a number of areas, including scaling up high impact interventions, promoting healthy behaviours and contributing to the evidence base.

Scaling-up high impact interventions
UNICEF’s overarching goal in its assistance to country health programmes is to promote general improvement in health systems, especially in primary health care. UNICEF support includes assisting governments with technical and financial strategies, providing supplies and essential health commodities, training health staff and creating networks among key institutions within a country, such as universities, research centres, ministries, NGO’s and the private sector.

The focus for the scaling up of integrated packages of at community and health facility levels, tailored to the country specific disease burden, will be the countries with the highest burden of child mortality. These countries account for 94% of all under-five deaths worldwide. Scale-up plans are being developed with focus on both the ‘’downstream’’ support to government and partners for scaling up delivery of high impact packages of services and the ‘’upstream’’ support to policy and budgeting framework.

Downstream’ approaches will include support for scaling up essential packages of interventions on a suitable mix of delivery channels (outreach, community and facility-based) and take advantage of opportunities such as integrated campaigns or Child Health Days and Weeks to deliver packages of services as well as supporting longer-term community capacity to deliver integrated services (such as IMNCI) particularly for management of undernutrition, newborn disorders, diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. Support for the continuum of care is a major principle of the approach both in terms of continuity from community-based to facility-based services including referral and also from mother to child.

Promoting healthy behaviours
There is a direct link between healthy behaviours and good health. Healthy behaviours can address many of the preventable causes of disease and deaths in both industrialized and developing countries. Working with governments, health personnel and through the community, UNICEF helps promote practices at the household and community levels that are proven to improve child health and development – including seeking immunization, managing diarrhoea, improving nutrition and care, and preventing injuries.

A stronger emphasis on data-based programme communication and on monitoring and evaluation using tracer indicators is pursued.

Contributing to the evidence-base
From the household to the government head, many decisions are made each day that impact health. Among the most powerful strategies available to influence public health and guide action is measuring health status. All health decision makers require reliable ‘information for action.’ UNICEF has committed to investing more in-depth country analysis with a particular focus on the health-related MDGs. UNICEF has also committed to supporting Multiple Indicator Cluster surveys every 3 years and to coordinating closely with DHS surveys so that the majority of the developing world continues to have access to nationally representative data every 3 years.

Unite for Children
UNICEF’s overarching goal is to engage all relevant actors – in the community, nationally and around the world – to unite to deliver the best possible results for children and women.



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