The right to access health care is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; therefore, UNICEF helps to improve healthcare services that can respond promptly to the needs of Venezuelan children and adolescents.
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The earliest years of life are key to a child’s development. In Venezuela, there is an increase in risk factors for neonatal and maternal mortality. This is as well as an increasing number of endemic diseases such as malaria, diphtheria, and measles in various parts of the country, which affect especially the most vulnerable children and adolescents, as well as indigenous communities.
Moreover, Venezuela has one of the highest teenage fertility rates in Latin America. The highest numbers are found among young people that live in extreme poverty, in indigenous rural areas and among Afro-Descendants.
The teenage pregnancy rate in Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be the second highest in the world, with an estimated 66.5 births for every 1,000 girls between 15 and 19 years old.
In Venezuela, UNICEF supports the strengthening of health services so that children, adolescents, and their mothers can access vaccines, antenatal consultations, and childbirth and newborn care, among other medical services. It also supports the reduction of mother-to-child transmission of HIV through the provision of antiretroviral drugs and rapid HIV testing.
One of the pillars of UNICEF’s work is the immunization of children and mothers. In Venezuela, UNICEF works in coordination with the Pan American Health Organization and the national government to ensure that children receive the vaccines provided in the routine immunization schedule established by the authorities and to strengthen the cold chain to preserve the vaccines. UNICEF supported the distribution of vaccines against tuberculosis, polio, yellow fever, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, measles, mumps, and rubella to protect children and adolescents in Venezuela.
UNICEF contributions to the health of Venezuelan children in 2021:
- More than 973 thousand children were immunized against tuberculosis, polio, yellow fever, tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella, diphtheria, influenza type b, and hepatitis B.
- More than 283 thousand pregnant women and their newborns received maternal and childcare through services supported by UNICEF.
- 67,000 HIV/syphilis diagnostic tests were distributed for prenatal consultations to strengthen the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
- 1,022 children under 15 living with HIV received their antiretroviral treatment.