Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (PANA) - UNICEF
has reported a 13-percent drop in the level of well being among Ivorian
children, according to its Situation of Children in the World in 2003 report.
It cites Côte d'Ivoire as the 20th country in the world with the highest child mortality rate. Out of a total of 2,466,000 children registered in 2001, 102,000 died before their fifth birthday, or a mortality rate of 175 per 1,000 children.
"The situation tends to become more critical since the outbreak of the war in Côte d'Ivoire where many children are abandoned or killed while their parents fleeing," one humanitarian worker said.
The figures are more alarming in Sierra Leone, which tops the world ranking with a child mortality rate of 316 per 1,000 children.
To crown the high mortality rate is the drop in school attendance due to the war in Côte d'Ivoire, as "more than 500,000 people, 80 percent of whom are women and children, were forced to leave the country.
Primary school attendance rate between 1995 and 2001 stood at 57 percent and "could drop if the war endures," the report warns.
It paints a similar situation in the health sector where barely 57 percent of Ivorian children above one year of age have been immunised against poliomyelitis and 61 percent received doses for Hepatitis B3.
HIV-infected children also featured in the report. In fact, at the end of 2000, UNICEF figures show that 84,000 out of 420,000 orphaned children (aged 4-14) lived with HIV/AIDS.
UNICEF has strengthened its programmes in the area of child and women protection since the beginning of the Ivorian crisis and especially after both pleaded for intensified humanitarian intervention.
- Pan African News Agency
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