Children survive and thrive
UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Health to improve health and nutrition status of children and women, prioritizing the needs of most vulnerable groups.
Child health. Challenges
For every child, quality healthcare
Armenia has achieved a two times reduction in infant mortality rate during the last decades, reflecting intensive efforts of the Ministry of Health and partners to improve children’s health status.
However, during the last three years there is some stagnation. Neonatal mortality counts for 70% of infant deaths. There is no reduction in post-neonatal mortality during the last four years. There is a notable increase in the number of stillbirths - 358 in 2005, 699 in 2016.
Traumas and injuries are one of the major unrecognized child health problem in Armenia.
There is lack of reliable statistical data on causes and age and sex disaggregation of injuries ad traumas, impeding development and implementation systemic targeted interventions.
Patronage visiting system is mainly medical/treatment oriented, with no effective mechanisms on prevention of diseases, and no targeted consultation on mother and child health and nutrition issues.
- In 2002, elimination of polio acknowledged, and certification of the country as polio-free.
- In 2006, recognition of Armenia as a country that achieved the elimination of iodine deficiency through universal salt iodization.
- Since 2009, no measles cases registered in the country.
- The Government has taken over main responsibility to cover the vaccine procurement cost.
- In 2016, recognition of Armenia as a country that eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
- Remarkable improvement in infant mortality and under-five mortality rates, cutting the number of deaths almost in half since 1990.
- Introduction of standards of care for young children in primary and hospital facilities
Mother and Child Nutrition. Challenges
For every child, healthy nutrition
UNICEF and Ministry of Health efforts of the last years have contributed to almost halving the stunting rate and to increasing the exclusive breast-feeding rate by 30%.
Meanwhile, less attention was paid to child overweight and obesity prevention. ADHS 2015-16 highlighted high prevalence of overweight among <5 children - 14%, indicating an increasing trend over the last decade (11% in 2005).
Children from the poorest households, rural children, and those whose mothers have only basic education are of higher risk of overweight.
Despite high coverage of antenatal care, pregnant women (PW) do not adhere to good nutrition practices.
Available data show poor nutrition/diet practices and high prevalence of micronutrient deficiency among PW: data on anemia from different sources vary from 12% to 60%; about 60% of PW did not take iron and 50% folic acid supplements; diet of 60% of PW lack iron and of 66% folic acid.
This is partially due to insufficient attention towards maternal nutrition by health providers and traditional beliefs/ reluctance to take supplements by PW.
- Improvement of child nutrition status, halving the rate of stunting – from 19% to 9%.
- Improvement of breast-feeding practices with increase of exclusive BF rate – from 35% to 45% during the last five years.
- In 2014, adoption by Parliament of Law on “BF support and marketing of BM substitutes”.
- Development and approval by the Government of two main policy documents: Child Nutrition Concept and BF Promotion Strategy.
- Development and introduction of e-based child nutrition surveillance system, enabling to collect and analyze routine data.
- Integration of nutrition counselling into home visiting and parental education systems.
- Development of online information platform for health providers and parents