Health and nutrition
With our partners, we strengthen health systems, maximize immunization coverage and support policies and financing to safeguard the health of children and women.
Child survival is at the very heart of what UNICEF does. UNICEF’s health and nutrition programme in the Pacific is focused on young childhood survival and development.
Children in the Pacific are exposed to countless threats to their health and nutrition.
Of the 1,700 children under five who die in the Pacific every year, 80 percent of them die before their first birthday and half of those don’t survive through their first month of life.
Prematurity, pneumonia and diarrhoea are the Pacific’s top childhood killers with undernutrition acting as a catalyst. Stunting and anaemia are the most prevalent forms of malnutrition in the Pacific.
Not only does undernutrition decrease a child’s chances of surviving, it prevents children from thriving: it thwarts growth of both the body and the brain, it interferes with learning at school, it reduces economic productivity, and it increases the severity and frequency of illness.
Most of the health and nutrition issues faced by women and children in the Pacific are preventable. However, preventing them requires an effective primary health care system, well-supported by Sub National Health Management Teams, engaged and health-aware communities, all backed by sufficient and predictable budgets based on sound policies.
In collaboration with ministries of health to strengthen these systems, UNICEF works to improve the quality of health and nutrition services through preventative, promotive, and curative means.
Specifically, UNICEF works with ministries of health to implement quality high impact nutrition interventions such as breastfeeding, complementary feeding, micronutrient supplementation, and deworming.
Preventing childhood infections through immunisation and health promotion are core elements of UNICEF’s work and is complemented with early detection and treatment of infection. The newborn period is when a child is at its most vulnerable. UNICEF assists ministries of health to improve newborn care including prevention and management of hypothermia, cord care, resuscitation is critical to improve newborn survival.