A conference was held on December 7 in the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan to launch the Provincial Child Friendly Programme for the province in the 2012-2016 period.

Sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the programme has a total financing of more than 5.3 million USD, of which 4.9 million USD comes from non-refundable ODA and 8 million USD from Ninh Thuan budget.

The programme targets unprivileged and vulnerable children in the province, and aims to provide them with better services in health care, nutrition, environmental sanitation, personal hygiene, pre-school education and protection.

It helps reduce maternal mortality and prevent epidemics in the province’s ethnic minority groups by implementing a maternity wellbeing pilot scheme, which will be applied across the nation.

The programme is expected to improve the child protection system to guard children against neglect, violation, harm, exploitation and abuse in illegal activities. It will also lead to better provision of education and equal access to basic services for children.

From 2006 to 2011, together with a project to enhance the quality of productive healthcare services in Ninh Thuan, the programme helped reduce the number of children dropping out of school and child fatality, increasing the ratio of maternal access to healthcare services.

At the same time, a child protection network from provincial to grassroots levels has been established, reducing the number of harmed children.

It also helped upgrade the capacity of provincial authorities’ management and supply of public healthcare services, improving their ability to communicate and positively changing the community’s attitude to reproductive health care, especially in mountainous areas./.VNA