Press Centre 2004/07/14: Health

Healthier, happier children

Turkey’s latest Demographic and Health Survey presents good news about the state of Mother and Child Health at the beginning of the 21st century

Ankara, 14 July, 2004 -- The Hacettepe Institute of Population Studies and the Ministry of Health (MOH) has published the preliminary results of Turkey’s latest Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS).

Ministry of Health logo Hacettepe logo

The results are good news for children in Turkey as they show improvements in many aspects of mother and child health. Areas such as infant mortality (IMR) -- down from 42.7 per thousand live births in 1998 to 29 per thousand live births in 2003 -- and the under-five mortality rate (U5MR) which is down from 52 per thousand in 1998 to 37 per thousand in 2003 indicate a very positive general improvement in child health.

I must congratulate our counterparts in the Ministry of Health for their excellent work and for pursuing what are clearly the right kind of policies and programmes in Maternal and Child Health Care, said Country Representative, Edmond McLoughney.

It is very good news for both Turkey and UNICEF to see reductions in infant and under-five mortality rates as well as increased consumption of iodised salt and rates of exclusive breastfeeding on which we have been working very hard with our partners to ensure positive results. One of our goals-- to see infant mortality rates sink below 30 per thousand live births by the end of 2005 -- has already been met and UNICEF is looking forward to seeing the children of Turkey enjoying improvements to every aspect of their lives.

Table 1: Progress in Turkey’s Health between 1998 and 2003
Year of Survey 1998 2003
Fertility Rate 2.6 2.23
Modern Contraceptive Methods 38% 42.5%
Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) 42.7‰ 29‰
Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) 52‰ 37‰
Exclusive Breastfeeding During the First 6 Months 1.3% 7.6%
Fully vaccinated children 45.7% 54.2%
Delivery with Health Staff in Attendance 81% 82.9%
Chronic Malnutrition 16% 12%
Usage of Iodised Salt n/a 70%

More than a hundred people including health staff, researchers, field staff, statisticians and analysts were involved in the preparation and execution of the survey and subsequent publication of the report. The survey was conducted in twelve key geographical regions, including İstanbul and the GAP, and a total of 8,075 married women between the ages of 15 and 49 years old were interviewed in more than 13,000 households.

The very young age of Turkey’s population is reflected in the finding that 29% of the population is under 15, although fertility rates have actually decreased from 2.6 per thousand in 1998 to 2.2 per thousand at present. The largest population group is between 15 and 24 years old emphasising tremendous scope for UNICEF’s continued focus on children’s issues.

The State Institute of Statistics (SIS) reports that income per capita has risen from US$2,584 in 2002 to US$3,383 in 2003 -- an increase of 32% -- indicating Turkey’s remarkable recovery from crippling inflation in 2001.

Another survey, carried out in the framework of the MOH’s Reproductive Health Programme, with the support of the EU, provides data on fertility, mortality, contraceptive methods, mother and child health and reproductive health. The survey will continue to evaluate current programmes on population issues and to help develop new strategies in these areas.

Turkey’s first TDHS was conducted in 1968 with the objective of providing demographic information in order to assess changes to the population structure. Since then, a new survey has been conducted every five years.

The preliminary report is available in Turkish for download in [Word 968KB] format. The English version will be available shortly.

The full report will be published in October.

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