Date Published: 27 June 2012
Improvements for women & children in Afghanistan
Recent data indicates general a improvement in conditions affecting the health and education of women and children in Afghanistan.
The recently released Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) report by the Central Statistics Organization (CSO) indicates significant improvements to the health, education and well-being of women and children in Afghanistan. These include better access to drinking water and higher school attendance among both boys and girls. Child mortality is also down.
The Afghanistan MICS is a national survey by the CSO, with the support of UNICEF, providing data on a range of indicators to enable the assessment of the situation of women and children in the country, including child mortality, nutrition, child health, water and sanitation, reproductive health, child development, education, child protection, and HIV/AIDS. Data was collected in all 34 provinces of the country.
" The AMICS is part of our Government's effort to monitor progress towards key goals and targets we've committed to, like the Millennium Development Goals," said Mr. Abdul Rahman Ghafoori, CSO's President General.
However, there are indications of slower progress in some important respects such as in women's literacy and gender parity in education. Concerns have been expressed about aspects of child protection, including the prevalence of child labour in Afghanistan, low school attendance among orphans, and high rates of violence against children, including severe physical punishment used for discipline.
Across all sectors in the report, major disparities exist because of the background characteristics of respondents. In many cases there seem to be dramatic differences between urban and rural areas, differences according to the socio-economic status of households, and by regions. Consistently, the educational level of women has been found to be a reliable predictor of most of the indicators for women and children. As women's education levels rise, performance is higher on most indicators. For example, child mortality is lower among women with education than it is among women without education.
" The AMICS findings tell us that much more needs to be done to support the health and wellbeing of Afghan women and children if we are to meet Afghanistan's MDGs on time," said Peter Crowley, UNICEF Afghanistan Country Representative.
" Paying careful attention to these data can support better planning and more targeted interventions in development and humanitarian assistance to help alleviate some of the most acute disparities," he added.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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