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Child Health & Nutrition Programme

© UNICEF Mongolia/2006/Toshka

 Due to a successful implementation of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), high levels of vitamin A supplementation and a nationwide programme on Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI), infant mortality rate and under 5 mortality rate have declined and stand at 41 and 52 per 1,000 live births respectively. The Government of Mongolia Annual Health Statistics report that, of the total annual infant deaths, 57% occur within the first month of life, of which 86% die within a period of one week. Peri-natal deaths (39.3%), ARI including pneumonia (29.7%) and diarrhoeal diseases (9.8%) are among the major causes of child mortality.

Maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births stood at 93.8 in 2005 down from 158 in 2000. Marked disparities can be observed among the regions and among poor families. In the western region, for example, the MMR was 361.2 per 100,000 in 2004. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth constitute the largest proportion of maternal deaths. Maternal malnutrition is mainly related to micronutrient deficiency especially iron deficiency anaemia which affects nearly 14 percent of women in child bearing age.

The proportion of underweight children between 6-59 months has decreased from 12.6% in 1992 to 6.7% in 2004 and stunting declined from 26.4% to 19.6%. For the age group 6-23 months, boys tend to be 4 times more malnourished than girls. Micronutrient deficiencies, especially vitamin D (43%) and iron deficiency (24.4%) for children under five remain a persistent challenge. By 2005, 84% of all households consumed adequately iodized salt.

There is a large urban and rural disparity concerning access to sate water and adequate sanitation in Mongolia.  Only one out of five of rural households, has access to improved water sources, compared to 62% of urban households.  And 43.4% of those living in gers (traditional tent) have very limited access to safe water, sanitation and basic infrastructure services.

 In 2005 a WHO/MOH survey showed only 25% of district schools had ventilated improved pit latrines (VIP) and there is no provision in many schools for washing hands after defecation. The survey found only 28% of district schools had a drinking water supply, only half of which met the quality standard for safe water.

Those inadequate and unsafe water, poor sanitation, and unsafe hygiene practices are the main causes of diarrhea among children. Nearly 2,000 children under five years old suffer every year from diarrhea episodes, and 600 children from Hepatitis A, which is endemic and accounts for 22.3% of communicable diseases.

The objectives of the Child health and nutrition programme are to be achieved at national and in country programme focus areas:

  •  high coverage levels of national EPI programme sustained and with over 90% coverage in the remote districts and capacity of Vaccine Fund Initiative for resource mobilization strengthened;
  •  levels of iron deficiency anaemia among pregnant mothers and under five children reduced by 85% and vitamin D coverage increased to 85%;
  •  the current levels of MMR reduced by 75%, (d) USI sustained by ensuring 90% households use adequately iodized salt;
  • basic package of water and sanitation services for primary schools implemented with 65% of rural schools equipped with safe water and sanitation services and 95% of children in primary schools practicing proper hygiene in country programme focus areas and
  • use of community based monitoring of water quality standards promoted (g) emergency preparedness and response plan drafted and capacity of service providers to ensure a timely response to emergencies developed.

The Child Health and Nutrition programme has three projects to achieve these objectives: The Child Survival and Growth project, The Maternal Health and Newborn Care project and the Water and Sanitation project.


© UNICEF Mongolia/2006/Zigor Adama

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