Health and Nutrition




© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2006/Brioni


Preventable or easily treatable diseases remain the main killers of children and women in Côte d’Ivoire. An estimated 87,000 children under the age of five die every year from preventable diseases. Malaria is the first cause of morbidity and mortality among the population in general. In average, 63,000 children under five die every year because of Malaria. Diarrhea and respiratory infections are respectively the second and third causes of under-five mortality. Other deaths are caused by indirect causes including HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation. Moreover, per 100,000 live births, about 810 women die from pregnancy-related causes each year.

However, with low-cost, low-technology and high impact interventions such as vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplementation, insecticide-treated bed nets, improved breastfeeding practices and adoption of safe hygiene practices, it is possible to turn back child and maternal mortality and morbidity and meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

UNICEF action and impact

UNICEF has identified child survival and development as the first right of the child. To ensure the respect of this right, UNICEF works with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, national and international agencies, and civil society to support effective and essential actions at each phase of the life cycle of the child.

Hence, the UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire Health and Nutrition programme comprises four high impact projects aiming at the reduction of under five and maternal mortality:

1. Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI+)
2. Maternal and Neonatal Health (MNH+)
3. Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI+)
4. Support to Health System and Emergencies

© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2006/Brioni

The provision of public health services has been almost completely interrupted since September 2002 due to the crisis, particularly in the Centre, North and West of the country. However, UNICEF and its partners have been able to facilitate the restoration of the health system through the strengthening of the cold chain and the provision of essential medical supplies, vaccines, vitamin A, and insecticide-treated nets. In addition, priority has been given to the rehabilitation and re-equipment of approximately hundred maternities and health centres that had been plundered or ransacked during the crisis. Through multiple advocacy actions, UNICEF has also played a predominant role in supporting the return of qualified personnel, which had left because of the conflict, and the reactivation of district management teams and health districts. Hence, the provision of essential services and geographic access has greatly improved. Constraints however still exist due to the insufficient return of qualified personnel and insufficient utilization of provided services.

After notification of 17 cases of Wild Polio Virus in 2004, the polio immunization coverage has improved, thanks to additional immunization campaigns, and to the strengthening of the EPI and the epidemiological surveillance system. Since 2005 no new cases of Wild Polio Virus have been observed. Moreover, since 2005, a national measles immunization campaign has resulted in a considerable reduction of morbidity and mortality related to this illness.






UNICEF-supported campaign aims to immunize millions of children against polio in Côte d’Ivoire
Since the beginning of the year, at least 34 cases of wild poliovirus type 3 have been confirmed in Côte d’Ivoire - the largest number of children infected with this type of poliovirus in the world.

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Key data

  • Polio: 17 cases in 2004, 0 cases in 2005, 0 cases in 2006 and 0 cases in 2007
  • 54.8% of children between 6 and 59 months have received 1 dose of vitamin A supplementation in 6 months (MICS 2006)
  • More than 5 million children were immunized against polio during the National Immunization Days from 12 to 15 May 2006
  • Routine EPI has been improved in 38 of 79 districts (16% in 2004, 45% in 2005, 74% in 2006 and 76% in 2007)
  • Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus: antitetanus vaccine coverage is 59% (MICS 2006)
  • 56.8% of women between 15 and 49 years old has given birth with help of a skilled birth attendant (MICS 2006)
  • 20.2% of children under 5 are moderately underweight (MICS 2006)
  • Immunization coverage against measles for children under 5 is 84.1% (MICS 2006)
  • Prevalence of use of contraceptives among women between 15 and 49 years old is 12.9% (MICS 2006)
  • 75.1% of children between 12 and 23 months have been immunized against infant diseases (MICS 2006)
  • 33% of children between 0 and 59 months who had diarrhea has received an oral rehydration therapy (MICS 2006)
  • 19.2% of children between 0 and 59 months suffering from an acute respiratory infection has received an antibiotic treatment (MICS 2006)
  • 3% of children under 5 sleeps under an insecticide-treated net (MICS 2006)
  • 10.3% of households owns an insecticide-treated net (MICS 2006)
  • 25.9% of children between 0 and 59 months who have had fever, has received antimalarial drugs (MICS 2006)


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