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Progress for Children in the Middle East and North Africa - November 2019 [EN/AR]

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1969 - Vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio was decreed mandatory and free of charge. 95% of children under the age of five receive vaccination.

1976 - Decree established compulsory education until the age of 16 and free education from primary to upper secondary


1990- 2012 - Child mortality dropped almost by half, from 131 to 67.8 per 1,000 live births.

2005- 2015 - Primary school enrolment rates climbed from 54.6% to 79%. More girls now attend school making up 46% of the primary school population.

2015 - Adopted a Child Protection Code aligned to international standards, strengthening an enabling and protective environment for children.

Undertook the Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis study, highlighting the deprivations of children using a lifecycle approach. The same year, a new unconditional cash transfer programme was initiated.


1989- 2014 - Under-five mortality rate fell from 102 to 27 per 1,000 live births.

2008 - UNICEF supported the amendment of the Child Law, harmonizing the minimum age of marriage for both sexes at 18. The Law also raised the age of criminal responsibility from seven to 12. Since 2008, female genital mutilation/cutting has become a criminal act. Between 2008 and 2014, the percentage of girls aged 15-17 who suffered from FGM/C declined from 74% to 61%.

2015 - UNICEF supported the modernization of social protection systems and the introduction of two cash transfer programmes.

2016 - The Grand Imam and Shaykh of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and the Coptic Orthodox Pope launched the Religious Leaders’ Initiative to counter violence against children, providing significant momentum to engage communities across faiths to protect the rights of children.