UNICEF strengthens the ability of healthcare and other sectors to provide quality services for the health and development of children in the earliest years.

Little Elena in incubator
UNICEF Serbia/2018/Pancic

Perinatal mortality* of 8.7 per 1000 births in Serbia is still much higher compared to average rate of 4.9 in the 25 EU countries average.

The healthcare system can play a crucial role in early childhood development, especially during the first 3 years of life, when the prospects for the development of a child’s brain are unmatched.

UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Health, works to advance the capacities of paediatric and community nursing services, as well as developmental counselling units to support parents in stimulating optimal child development, to engage in early detection of risks that cause children to lag behind in their development, and to provide early interventions for children and families in need.


*Stillbirth and newborn death in the first 7 days.

Baby at the doctor's
UNICEF Serbia/2017/Pancic

We are working to improve the quality of maternity and neonatal services so that they support modern concepts of care - by promoting mother and baby friendly principles, supporting breastfeeding, promoting family centred and developmental care that provides an optimal environment and stimulation for young children, particularly premature ones. 

UNICEF helps develop new quality standards, professional guidelines as well as institutional capacities to integrate these into everyday practice.

Baby in her mother's arms while getting her vaccine at the doctor's
UNICEF Serbia/2016/Bicanski

19% of children from the general population are not fully immunized on time, while the same is true for 56% of children from Roma settlements.

  • Although child mortality rates have been decreasing over decades, the infant and under 5 mortality rates of Roma children are twice as high compared to children in the general population.
  • Perinatal mortality of 8.7 per 1000 births in Serbia is still much higher compared to average rate of 4.9 in the 25 EU countries average.
  • Premature birth and intrapartum-related complications are the main causes of child mortality in Serbia – responsible for 60% of neonatal deaths and 42% of all deaths among children under-five.