UNICEF Regional Director calls Ukraine to invest more in children
Kyiv, 24 June 2010 – Today UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States Steven Allen has completed his first visit to Ukraine. Summarizing the results, he called for greater investments in children and continuing to improve care provided to HIV positive children and adolescents.
While in Ukraine, Steven Allen met with Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Seminozhenk, Minister of Family, Youth and Sport Ravil Saffiulin, and Deputy Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Labour and Social Policy to discuss the challenges country faces in achieving results for children and priority areas of cooperation between the Government and UNICEF for 2012-2016.
“UNICEF appreciates efforts of the new Government to address children issues, but still more actions and investments are necessary to ensure successful national development for Ukrainian children”, said Steven Allen during his meeting with Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine. “UNICEF stands ready to support the actions of the Government and to broaden our partnership over the next five years to improve lives of children and families in Ukraine”, he added.
In addition, the UNICEF Regional Director discussed the current collaboration in the area of children’s healthcare with Minister of Health of Ukraine Zinoviy Mytnyk. Steven Allen was concerned with the growing number of the young Ukrainians becoming vulnerable to the infectious diseases outbreak due to decline in rates of childhood immunization in country. “Revitalizing immunization programme and providing accurate information to the public on the value of vaccination is extremely important to protect Ukrainians from infectious diseases”, stated UNICEF Regional Director.
Besides meeting governmental officials, Steven Allen visited the Okhmadyt-based Clinic for treatment of HIV-positive children that was established in 2007 by the Ministry of Health initiative with support from UNICEF and other donors. As of January 2010 in Ukraine there are over 24,400 children born to HIV-positive mothers, of whom about 2,400 are HIV-positive and 1,700 receive ARV treatment and 268 children died from AIDS. “
In spite of the expanded access to ART for HIV-positive children and an excellent example of Okhmadyt clinic, there is a need to improve the care provided to HIV-positive children in Ukraine, Steven Allen emphasized. “It’s necessary to strengthen the capacity of care providers especially to outreach those most-at-risk-adolescents,” he continued.
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