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UNICEF welcomes Angolan Government campaign to reduce maternal and infant mortality

LUANDA, 25 August 2010 – According to the results of a Government survey released this month, Angola has made significant strides towards reducing maternal and infant mortality since 2002, with the mortality rate for children under five dropping from 250 to 195 per 1,000 live births. During the same period, the maternal mortality ratio decreased from 1,400 to 660 per 100,000 live births.

Despite the report of significant improvement, UNICEF says the situation remains unacceptable, as it puts Angola on par with the least developed countries, despite the fact that its GDP per capita is that of a lower middle income country.

Nevertheless, cost effective solutions do exist, such as improving access to effective obstetric interventions, promoting maternal practices that protect a child’s health, and ensuring that clinics have essential medicines and supplies.

“Nationwide access to skilled birth attendance is critical to reducing maternal and neonatal mortality,” said Dr. Koen Vanormelingen, UNICEF representative in Angola and UN Resident Coordinator in charge. “Furthermore, disparities in healthcare access are putting poorer families and those living in rural areas at risk.”

The government of Angola has now launched a campaign to accelerate the reduction of maternal and infant mortality (CARMMA). The campaign focuses on strengthening the health system at the municipal level through the provision of improved maternal and child healthcare services and education campaigns promoting healthy habits for mothers and children at home.

UNICEF recognizes the capacity of this campaign to make significant and sustainable progress for the health of children and families in Angola. The UN system in Angola welcomes this initiative, and encourages the Government to raise the proportion of the general government budget devoted to health from 6.4 to 15 per cent to ensure better health for children and women in Angola.

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: www.unicef.org

For more information, please contact:
Olívio Gambo, Communications Officer, UNICEF Angola
Tel +244 923 61 48 57




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