Health and Nutrition

The Issue

The Challenges

UNICEF in Action



© UNICEF/CEECIS2011P-0078/Mehinli and Tolstihina

One of the biggest issues with nutrition in the region is iodine deficiency, known to increase the risk of the development of mental disabilities in children. The regional average for use of iodized salt is at 61 per cent (of which 51 per cent adequately iodized). It will continue to stagnate at this rate as two of the most populous countries Russia and Ukraine postponed national legislations on universal salt iodization. Only 15 out of 22 countries in the region have reached the international benchmark for success of 90 per cent. 

Social inequity again is reflected in undernutrition of many marginalized children, which is demonstrated by high rates of stunting and child mortality.

UNICEF seeks to build the foundations of good nutrition in our region with the following actions:

  • Improving access to education and health services for women and girls;
  • Promoting exclusive breastfeeding for infants, from birth to six months, better complementary feeding and better hygiene combined with deworming through community-based programmes;
  • Developing and distributing low-cost complementary foods, fortified foods and nutritional supplements; and
  • Strengthening links between programmes in health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene for children younger than 5 years old.


In 2013, UNICEF released in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan the publication “Facts for Life: Nutrition and Growth” in the Tajik language. UNICEF supported the publication and distribution of 5000 copies to make it available in every health centre across the country. The simple and vital information that this publication presents is aimed to improve knowledge of parents and families on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding and salt iodization.

Last updated November 2013



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