Health and Nutrition
|Article 24 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child stipulates the right of all children, without discrimination, to ‘the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health’. |
Children in Moldova benefit from universal health insurance and a well- developed health system, which continues to look for ways to improve. As a result Moldova has a lower child mortality rate than other countries of similar economic levels, and good rates of immunization as well as antenatal care.
Progress is uneven however and much remains to be done. Mortality rates in rural areas are much higher than in the cities. A poor child or a child from the Roma community is less likely to have access to health services and more likely to die young. Although health care for children is free, medicines must be paid for by the family for children over age five, and is often beyond the reach of poor parents. Also, parents often lack of knowledge of the signs of ill health, and may not seek care in time.
Poor nutrition is a risk for many Moldovan children. One in seven children from the poorest families shows signs of chronic malnutrition (stunting) which in turn affects their ability to learn and earn later in life. Poor families struggle to provide sufficient nutritious food for their children. Iodine and iron deficiencies are present in Moldova and are more prevalent amongst poor rural families.
While data in these areas is generally lacking for the Transnistria region, both access to health care and the quality of care provided tend to be lower, and thus the risks even higher for the children who live there.
HIV remains a concern in Moldova, particularly for young people. Rates in Transnistria are particularly high. The introduction of youth friendly health services has been an important step in the right direction, and needs to continue, hand in hand with greater openness and support for adolescents’ development and decision making by parents, teachers and other adults.
What are the key issues making children vulnerable: situation and trends?
- Infant and under-five mortality rates have been substantially reduced. However, infant mortality rate (11.7 per thousand live-births) is much higher than the EU-27 average (4.3 per thousand live-births).
- Infant and under-five mortality rates are disproportionately higher among children from rural areas, boys, children from households within the lowest quintile, Roma children and children from the South region.
- Maternal mortality is still high and very far from the European average.
- The proportion of children under two years immunized against measles is very high. The proportion has, however, decreased, making not likely achievement of MDG target.
- Share of underweight children aged 0-5 years has considerably decreased.
- Morbidity through anemia remains a major problem, with a constant increase between 2001 and 2010.
- Mental disorders rate for children has increased between 2005 and 2010.
- HIV/AIDS rate for the 15-24-year age group is on an upward trend in 2009-2010.
- There is a shift in transmission routes of HIV/AIDS from injecting drug behaviour to sexual intercourse.
- Incidence of HIV/AIDS is much higher in the left bank of the Nistru than on the right bank.
- Adolescents (15-19 years) have a considerably lower level of knowledge about the sexually transmitted infections than do the 20-24 age group. In addition, only about one third of rural youth have correct knowledge of HIV transmission.
- Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PLWH) are widespread both among population and professionals from health and education sectors.
- There is an increase in the alcohol use and a rather constant proportion of present smokers among teenagers 15-19 years old.
- The prevalence rate of injecting drugs among youth is higher in Moldova than in the EU member states.
- Suicide rate for teenagers (15-19 years) places the Republic of Moldova on an average position within the region.
- Children’s access to safe water sources, sanitation and hygiene conditions is much lower in rural schools than in urban ones.
- Family doctors to inhabitants ratio has undergone a decrease.
- Lack of medical insurance for about 20% of the population, poor knowledge on child health and nutrition, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents, both of parents and adolescents, underdeveloped transport infrastructure, out-of-pocket money, and the discriminatory attitudes of the heath personnel and adult population represent the factors that hinder access to health services.
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