August 25, 2007 20:28 ET

CIDA Funding Boosts UNICEF Work to Help Afghan Children

$10 Million to UNICEF, Improving Health Care for Children and Women in Afghanistan

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 25, 2007) - UNICEF's work in improving the lives and health of children and pregnant women in Afghanistan is being supported with $10 million in new funding from CIDA, UNICEF reports.

The $10 million will be used for maternal and child health programmes in Kandahar and southern Afghanistan. This new funding has the potential to help reduce child mortality rates by 35 per cent in the communities reached through the programmes.

UNICEF continues to work on the ground in Afghanistan with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. UNICEF is taking a lead role in establishing effective delivery methods of maternal and child health services in volatile areas of Kandahar and other previously un-reached and under-serviced areas.

This new funding will help UNICEF save the lives of children by delivering a comprehensive set of health services, including immunizations, micro-nutrient supplements, treatments for diarrhoea among children under five, treatment for intestinal worms, insecticide treatment for bed nets to protect against malaria and public health education.

A portion of this new funding will also help improve obstetric care in 41 hospitals across southern Afghanistan and help train midwives in rural areas. Afghanistan has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. About 18,000 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications - most of which are preventable. Many of these women are giving birth under difficult circumstances with no skilled assistance.

This new funding builds on previous support from CIDA. Earlier this year UNICEF received CIDA funding for a 20-bed residential obstetric care facility next to Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar to ensure expecting mothers get the care they need. It is estimated that over 1,000 mothers will benefit from this Canada-funded Kandahar facility annually.

UNICEF is the world's leader for children, working in more than 155 countries and territories to save, protect and enhance the lives of girls and boys. UNICEF has been on the ground in Afghanistan since 1949. UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, promotes quality basic education, and protects children from violence, exploitation and AIDS. A global leader in emergencies with six decades of on-the-ground experience, UNICEF saves and rebuilds children's lives in natural disasters and conflict. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, schools, associations and governments.

Contact Information

  • UNICEF Canada
    Barbara Strang
    Director, Communications
    Cell: (647) 282-7546