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Report shows improvements in Afghanistan – but many children still suffer

© UNICEF Afghanistan/2004/Moez

NEW YORK, 28 September 2004 – The first comprehensive study of the situation of children and women in Afghanistan in nearly a decade has been released today. It shows that fewer infants are dying and more children are going to school. But it also shows that the majority of the country still has no access to clean water, and mortality rates remain high.

More than 20,800 households were involved in the nationwide statistical survey, which was carried out by the Afghanistan Central Statistical Office with support from UNICEF. All 32 provinces were covered, although a small number of areas were still too dangerous and inaccessible to reach.

Key points

• 1 in 9 children will die before their first birthday

• 1 in 6 children will die under five

• 45 per cent of primary aged children don’t go to school

• 30 per cent of under fives are affected by diarrhoea

• 60 per cent of homes don’t have safe water

“A survey like this gives us insight into a number of key indicators – particularly things like the infant mortality rate, the under-five mortality rate, access to education, access to water, access to health care and so on,” says UNICEF Communications Officer in Afghanistan Edward Carwardine.

The survey shows that four million children are now attending school and there have been great improvements in health-related indicators. The number of cases of polio and measles has declined.

But there are still millions of girls who don’t go to school and a large portion of the population has no access to clean water. Diarrhoea causes the death of many children and health care for women in rural areas is limited.

“This survey is a really good snapshot of the condition of children today in Afghanistan and clearly identifies where there are needs, and where UNICEF needs to prioritize its activities to move Afghanistan forward to create a better standard of life for its children,” says Mr. Carwardine.

Afghanistan is emerging from 30 years of conflict and isolation and UNICEF says the government must be supported in its efforts to improve health and education and to protect the rights of children.

Progress of Provinces: Results of the 2003 Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey is the result of 12 months work by the Afghanistan Central Statistical Office.




28 September 2004: Study on Afghan women and children launched in Kabul.

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UNICEF’s Edward Carwardine highlights key points of the new study on Afghan women and children.
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