Health and Nutrition

The Issue

The Challenges

UNICEF in Action


UNICEF in Action

© UNICEF/CEECIS2013P-0098/Krepkih

More efforts are needed to ensure health systems are delivering health services for all women and children. UNICEF has therefore prioritized three areas to address the bottlenecks to child survival and well-being. These are:

• Support to governments to budget for cost-effective interventions;
• Tackling demand-side barriers through effective health promotion and disease prevention programming; and
• Improving the quality of health services.

We are also addressing the social determinants of child-survival and well-being, including nutrition, social protection, education, water and sanitation and inter-sectoral collaboration across these spheres.

Looking ahead, UNICEF aims to work with key partners UNAIDS, UNFPA, the World Bank and WHO in order to support countries that are struggling with maternal and newborn health and are also initiating the use of new technologies to promote universal access to health services.


In Uzbekistan, UNICEF’s evidence-based pilot interventions on maternal, newborn and child survival have shown how investments in human resources – with 27,000 health professionals trained – can spur sector-wide reforms. A high-level Steering Committee is now coordinating MCH reform, bringing together the key national and international stakeholders to leverage their resources and comparative advantages.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

In 2009, a UNICEF-supported situation analysis revealed major equity gaps in mother and child health (MCH) services, with mortality rates up to 30 per cent higher in particular regions and ethnic groups, and particularly low coverage of MCH services among Roma women. Over 20 per cent of pregnant Roma women did not see a doctor during their pregnancy. Backing the Government’s ownership of the process, UNICEF used its limited resources to develop a National Strategy on Safe Motherhood that aligned to other health priorities, as well as a funding proposal. As a result, the Government of the Netherlands has provided a grant of $8 million, while the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Government has committed to co-funding worth an additional $15 million. The expected results for rural and Roma communities include an additional 9,200 pregnant women and 12,500 children reached each year, and an increase in immunization rates from 80 to 95 per cent.

Last updated November 2013



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