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Initial Findings of Major Survey on Children and Women in Iraq Completed

BAGHDAD, 21 May 2012. The Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Planning and UNICEF have released the initial findings of the most comprehensive survey on the situation of children and women in Iraq since 2006, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 4 (MICS 4).

“We are very pleased to present the Preliminary Findings Report of MICS 4, which provides the national data on the latest situation of children and women in Iraq" said Dr. Ali Yousif Al-Shukri, Iraq’s Minister of Planning. "With these findings, we are able to start measuring our progress for children in Iraq over the last five years and initiate our planning to improve the well-being of Iraqi children over the next several years."

The MICS 4 data indicates significant achievements for children in Iraq since 2006. For example, birth registration in Iraq is almost universal assuring nearly all Iraqi children of their identity, inherently giving them access to all of their fundamental rights. Children in Iraq are also increasingly covered by immunization services and more women are giving birth in health care institutions ensuring safer deliveries and increased attention to maternal health.

On the contrary, further improvement is required on other children’s issues. In terms of child survival, increased attention should be given to exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and comprehensive newborn care. Good nutritional practices at home should also be expanded to improve the full learning potential of children.

Among other issues, the primary school completion rate remains below what is necessary for the majority of children in Iraq to complete an effective basic education and water quality is still poor for many children and their families.

"At this historic time for the country, these findings have critical implications for the future of Iraqi children, namely the most marginalized, and Iraq’s overall equitable development" said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative in Iraq. "The analysis of data indicates that social protection mechanisms for the most deprived and marginalized children ought to become a primary objective of the Government and all development partners if Iraq’s Millennium Development Goal targets are to be attained with equity.”

“UNICEF will expand its support to the Government to develop policies and interventions to make Iraq a better place for all of its children in the coming months and years” stated Babille.

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey collects data on the well-being of children including the status of children's health, nutrition, education, child protection and other indicators related to children's fundamental rights.

MICS 4 is the largest household survey to be carried out in Iraq to date and is the second Government survey to gather data at the district level. Over the past year and a half, more than 800 people were mobilized by Iraq's Central Statistics Organization and the Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office to assess a representative sample of around 36,000 households across the country, the largest ever. In total, over 55,000 women were interviewed with information collected on over 36,000 children under the age of five.

The final MICS 4 data and analysis on the most deprived children across Iraq, including comprehensive findings at the governorate and district level, are expected to be completed in the coming months.

For further information please contact:
Jaya Murthy, UNICEF Iraq, +962 79 692 6190,
Salam Abdulmunem, UNICEF Iraq, +9647809126782,

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Amman, +962 6 5502 400 ext 563

About UNICEF Iraq
UNICEF has been in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential. UNICEF maintains its comparative advantage in health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, child protection and social policy in its support to the Government of Iraq. UNICEF supports the development of child friendly policies, building the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children and convening all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, develop water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet the needs of the most deprived and vulnerable.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:



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