The Children

The state of Zambia's children


Burden of disease and death

Inadequacy of response

Limited or absent services



The state of Zambia's children

© UNICEF Zambia/2008/Inzy
UNICEF is committed to saving the lives of Zambia's future leaders.

One very visible physical result of the triple threat to children in Zambia (poverty, disease burden, and services inadequate to respond to the situation) is the high level of morbidity and mortality.

Newborns are particularly at risk: 34 out of every 1,000 do not survive beyond their first 28 days of life. For those who do survive, it is also evident that stunting due to poor nutrition is common. HIV and AIDS contribute in a significant way: as the cause of death of 20 per cent of the nearly 100,000 Zambian children aged under 5 who die every year.

Evidence of how the HIV and AIDS pandemic has hit hard on a population already highly vulnerable are the 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable (OVC). As the parent generation has succumbed to HIV and AIDS children have often been left to the care of elderly grandmothers.

To date, the response to these vulnerable children has struggled to keep up with the growing need for intervention. Deprivation is a characteristic of the lives of many of the country’s children, living in homes where relentless poverty is the norm, often in communities far from any services, denied education and in situations where the concept of rights and protection from exploitation is little known or understood.



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