UNICEF praises Cuba's efforts in ensuring child welfare

13:28, June 02, 2011      

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The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday praised Cuba for its social care programs for children despite limited financial resources, the official Granma daily reported.

"In Cuba, there are no children on the streets, no children out of school, no children without access to health services or culture, and there are no unprotected children without opportunities for development," Jose Juan Ortiz, the UNICEF representative in Cuba, told Granma.

Ortiz said it was "a great joy for UNICEF" to celebrate the International Children's Day in Cuba "with the satisfaction of the efforts made by the government on behalf of the children, even without an abundance of resources," Granma quoted him as saying.

The day was celebrated with extensive cultural and recreational events across the country in schools, museums, parks, communities, orphanages, hospitals and pediatric wards.

"Since the victory of the 1959 Revolution, the Cuban government has developed a humanist strategy, which has shown that even without abundant resources, it is possible to grant children full access to social programs," said Granma in an editorial.

"It is the political will of the government to grant children with their basic rights and meet their needs, and ensure that young Cubans are guaranteed basic foods at subsidized prices, school, health, vaccines and other benefits free of charge," the editorial said.

Cuba boasts an infant mortality rate of 4.5 per 1,000 living births, close to that of the most developed countries. The island country is also among nations that have the lowest death rate for children under 5.

Granma said such achievements are remarkable in a world where "some 600 million children live in poverty, more than 27,000 children under 5 die every day from preventable causes, and 130 million do not receive even basic education."

There are some 300,000 children below 18 serving as child soldiers in conflicts across the world, while more than 250 million children are forced to work to survive, including many who have become victims of prostitution and pornography, added the paper.

Source: Xinhua
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