Health and Nutrition

Health and Nutrition


Health and Nutrition



UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health’s nutrition and health programmes to ensure the survival and health of all children in Iraq, including:


  • Developing and implementing Iraq’s 2012 - 2021 national Nutrition Strategy to reduce malnutrition;
  • Developing and implementing a joint Maternal and Child Health and Reproductive Health Strategy to reduce maternal and neo-natal mortality;
  • Strengthening immunization coverage to reach every district in Iraq, including cold chain support, the introduction of new vaccines and promotion of good health practices;
  • Procuring the highest quality basic medical supplies and medicines, including vaccines, to improve the overall quality of Iraq’s health services to children and women;
  • Developing a National Code for Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes to regulate the advertising and marketing of breast milk substitutes to protect and promote breastfeeding practices.
  • Carrying out Iraq’s first micro-nutrient study

2016 activities and results:

UNICEF supported newborn home care services reaching 2,072 newborn babies (1,057 girls) and their families as part of services in the first month of life to reduce neonatal mortality.

Immunization is a key and cost-effective intervention in support of child survival. In 2016, 5.8 million children (2.9 million girls) under five years were vaccinated against polio either as part of the Nationwide Polio Immunization Days that have been ongoing since 2014, or as part of ‘mop up’ campaigns to trace defaulters and ensure high coverage.

A total of 31,867 children under one year (16,252 girls) were vaccinated against measles as part of routine vaccination services since January 2016.

The Federal Ministry of Health in coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Health and the support of WHO and UNICEF concluded a campaign on 29 December 2016 targeting children for vaccination against polio and measles. UNICEF provided vaccinations, medical supplies, transportation and health promotion support to a large-scale vaccination campaign covering six governorates. The Ministry of Health reported 700,545 children vaccinated against polio and 542,422 children vaccinated against measles by 29 December 2016.

Nutrition services reached 33,364 IDP and host community children (32,411 IDP children) who were screened for nutritional status, and referred to specialized care if required. At least 172 children were identified with some form of malnutrition in December 2016 and reached with the appropriate treatment.

As part of the multisector emergency response package in retaken communities, UNICEF delivered High Energy Biscuits for children under 5 as part of ‘first line’ blanket distribution of nutrition supplies. Between 17 October and 18 December 2016, 4,860 children (2,464 girls) affected by Mosul operations received supplements. In the same period, UNICEF has supported vaccination of 21,900 children affected by Mosul operations.

Information as of December 2016

>> See the latest Iraq humanitarian situation report





Convention on the Rights of the Child

The child has a right to the highest attainable standard of health and medical care. State Parties shall take appropriate measures to diminish infant and child mortality, ensure the provision of necessary health care, combat disease and malnutrition, ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers and ensure society has access to health education...

Art. 24


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