UNICEF urges Uganda to put children first in poverty eradication
Agency makes key recommendations in ongoing finalisation of National Development Plan (NDP)
ENTEBBE – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), today providing a set of policy recommendations to be prioritised in Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP), has appealed to the Government to fulfil its legal and moral obligations toward the country’s youngest citizens.
Speaking at a meeting here of the National Planning Authority (NPA), UNICEF Representative, Keith McKenzie, said that greater investments in children would yield high economic returns.
“Investing in children is the best strategy to ensure that poverty will one day be history in Uganda,” he said. “It is a sad reality today, however, that with 60 percent of our children living in poverty, poverty in Uganda has a child’s face.”
The UN children’s agency’s recommendations to the NPA cover increasing the fiscal space for social sectors; improving the effectiveness of public expenditures; combating child poverty through introducing a comprehensive social protection package, including cash-transfers, for the most vulnerable; investing in high-impact and cost-effective interventions to prevent up to two-thirds of child mortality; strengthening school management and community-based education solutions; expanding child protection systems; and investing in water and sanitation infrastructure, particularly school sanitation.
The NPA, together with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, is spearheading the finalisation of the NDP, with Uganda’s Poverty Eradication Plan set to expire at the end of the 2008-2009 Financial Year.
Government statistics show that 205 children die every day in the country, mostly due to malaria, acute respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and other preventable causes. The probability of dying before the age of 5 is 45% higher among rural children as compared to their urban peers.
“An increased attention to children at the national level will also fuel Uganda’s relentless pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals. The promise of a healthier and more prosperous tomorrow for Uganda must start with a greater investment in its children today,” added McKenzie.
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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