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Published: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 10:19:54 AM

Unicef recognises Malaysia's efforts to alleviate child poverty

PUTRAJAYA: The United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) recognises Malaysia’s efforts to alleviate child poverty and provide access to children in the country to healthcare, education and protection.

Its latest Profile of Children in Malaysia: Implementation of Children’s Rights with Equity report showed, among others, poverty among those aged 15 and below had dropped from 29.3% in 1989 to 9.4% in 2007.

The report said Malaysia had shown tremendous progress towards improving the well-being of children in the country.

“Malaysia can and should be proud of its commitment to the idea of inclusiveness or equity, which is that all children, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or geographic location, should benefit from the improvements that have taken place,” Unicef representative to Malaysia Wivina Belmonte said at the launch of the report here yesterday.

The report, a collaboration between Unicef Malaysia and the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, compiled information and data from various ministries and government agencies.

“(The report) allows us to assess the effectiveness of national programmes that contribute to the well-being of children in Malaysia where we are doing well and where there are gaps,” Belmonte said.

The report, quoting a household income survey for last year, said most of the poor children in the country were in Sabah, where 31% of the children in the state were living in poverty. This is followed by Kelantan (15% of the children population in the state).

The best-off state was Selangor, where only 2% of the children population live in poverty.

The report found that more indigenous children and non-Malaysian children were likely to drop out of school and enter the labour force early, compared to those in the major ethnic groups.

In terms of healthcare, Malaysia reported a commendable immunisation coverage for children with close to perfect scores for children with the BCG (tuberculosis), DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) and Polio vaccinations.

It also suggested that access to healthcare was not discriminated against one’s economic status.

The report further stated that there is an increasing number of children being enrolled in preschool education but that school enrolment of children with special education overall needed to be improved.

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Tags / Keywords: Health, Family & Community, Unicef, children

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