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Situation of children

© UNICEF Mongolia
Children playing outside mobile kindergarten in Tsagaannuur, Khuvsgul

Achievements and Progress

      · Remarkable progress in most child-related MDG indicators with immunization at 99% and enrolment rates reaching 95% for basic education.

      · An almost five fold reduction in under-five mortality rates from 107 (1990) to 25 (2013) per 1,000 live births,

      · In addition, the prevalence of stunting has dropped from 15% to 10% between 2010 and 2013

Health

Efforts are being made to increase the quality of health services through low cost and high-impact interventions, such as antenatal care, early and essential new-born care and provision of micronutrients. These interventions have the potential to multiply the progress already achieved.

WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygenie)

Indicators remain stagnant, with use of improved drinking water sources at 68%, use of improved sanitation facilities at 58% with large disparities between urban and rural areas – 69% in urban and 29% in rural areas. Improving water, sanitation and hygiene is vital for guaranteeing children’s health, development and protection. For instance, appropriate conditions help control the spread of disease, enable children to learn in the school environment and reduce their exposure to risks and accidents inherent to using unsafe latrines.

Child Protection

Nearly half of children in Mongolia have been subjected to physical or corporal punishment over the last month. This area of concern is related to behavioural change which requires a society-wide mobilization and long-term action. Violence against children is invisible to most, as it takes place behind closed doors, keeps children victimized and unable to break free from the cycle of violence. Violence against children is all too often unseen, unheard, and underreported. It inflicts not only physical wounds on children but also leaves mental scars that can mar their development in significant ways and can affect physical and mental health, compromise the ability to learn and socialize.

Mongolia’s first ever, nationwide, toll free, 24/7 child helpline 108 was launched recently which will help reduce child abuse cases and strengthen the child protection system in the country. The helpline is receiving 900 calls per week on average, with the main purpose being seeking information and/or counselling services, while 7% of calls relate to child rights violations. 

HIV/AIDS

Knowledge about HIV/AIDS has declined 9% from 2010 to 2013. Only one out of five young people have a good understanding of HIV/AIDS. This setback requires a focus on prevention and public information campaigns, including as part of the health education curriculum in schools with the participation of adolescent and youth organization and targeted messages that are clear and understandable.

Early Childhood Education

The current pre-school attendance rate in Mongolia is 68%. Children’s involvement in early education is critical for the development of their social skills and psychological and intellectual stimulation needed to ensure school readiness. In addition, parent’s involvement in these early stages of their children’s education is vital to prevent injuries and accidents at home, which are increasing at a worrying rate in Mongolia and becoming a major cause behind child mortality. Finally, investment in early childhood education has one of the most impressive rates of return, with $12.90 per dollar invested.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding rates in Mongolia are decreasing. In 2010, nearly 60 per cent of children were exclusively breastfed for the first six months, but by 2013 this had dropped to less than 50 per cent. The reasons for this decline vary from lack of support from family or workplaces, to heavy advertisement of breast milk substitutes, and growing poverty which forces mothers to go back to work soon after giving birth. Exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are key interventions for improving child survival, potentially saving the lives of around 20 per cent of children under five.  

Disparities

The disparities affecting children are alarming. The under-five mortality rate disparities are large and worrisome. For instance, a child is four times more likely to die before his or her fifth birthday is he or she is born in the Western regions compared to children in Ulaanbaatar (40 v 11 deaths per 1000 live births). Disparities are equally concerning when analysing the gaps between aimag centers and remote soum areas – in some cases, this gap means that a child born in a soum is more than three times more likely to die before age five compared to a child born in the aimag center (70 v 20  deaths per 1000 live births). Finally, there is a socio-economic aspect of child mortality, as it is almost four times higher for poor children than for children in the wealthiest quintile (44 v 12 per 1000 live births).

Mongolia and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Mongolia was among the very first countries to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on January 26, 1990 and was also among the first to ratify it in July of the same year. More recently, having already ratified two of the CRC optional protocols, Mongolia signed the CRC third optional protocol in October 2013. The country is actively pursuing its ratification, while many of its laws and policies are also in line with the principles enshrined in the CRC.

 

 

 
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