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New Zealand supports improved health for Pacific children

© UNICEF Pacific/2006/Pirozzi
MCH unit working at Erakor Bridge Vanuatu, growth monitoring, immunization breastfeeding. UNICEF provides the vaccines and other medical equipment including the scales.

SUVA, 18 September 2013 – Children in the Pacific will have access to more vaccines and a better health system thanks to funding from the New Zealand Government. 

Every year there are about 60,000 children born in the 14 Pacific countries covered by UNICEF Pacific. Around 1,330, or 4 per day, die before age one.

Close to NZD 6 million (FJD 8.8 million) from the New Zealand Aid Programme will be used by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pacific programme to reduce infant, child and maternal mortality.

“The goal of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programme is to ensure that pregnant women, mothers and children have access to life-saving vaccines, to improve nutrition and newborn health, and to strengthen public health service delivery, especially in hard to reach areas, ” says UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Karen Allen.

“The programme is inclusive but with a particular focus on the poorest families in Pacific countries. It works across the region but also addresses specific needs in countries. We are grateful to the New Zealand Government for this timely and strategically targeted assistance.”

By 2017, the New Zealand funded programme expects to achieve the following in Pacific Island countries: 

  • 260,000 children aged under five are free from polio, measles and hepatitis B infection
  • 30,000 children aged under one in at least seven countries are protected against vaccine preventable diseases at all times
  • At least three countries have introduced new vaccines (pneumococcal and rota viral vaccines), and two countries have introduced rubella vaccine
  • Malnutrition, especially stunting, will be prevented and rates reduced in children aged under two in at least three countries (Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru)
  • Children and women, in selected areas of at least seven countries benefit from targeted programmes to prevent micronutrient deficiencies (Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Nauru, RMI, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu)
  • All health facilities in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, RMI, FSM, Nauru and Fiji have enhanced pregnancy outcomes and reduced maternal and newborn illness and deaths 
  • 62 hospitals in 14 countries are declared Mother-Baby Friendly
  • 120,000 (or 80 percent) of children aged under five in seven countries (Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, Palau, FSM and RMI) receive quality clinical service for pneumonia (proper antibiotics) and diarrhoea (new oral rehydration salts and zinc tablets)


UNICEF is present in over 190 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 further information please contact: 

Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific, +679 9265518, 



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