Our Priorities

In the last few decades China has made historic improvements in child health and is on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal for reducing child mortality. However, life-threatening, preventable childhood diseases and injuries are more common than they should be in China. Many children still face high risks of contracting hepatitis B, measles and other diseases. Injuries, meanwhile, are the leading cause of childhood death in China after infancy.

Vaccine-preventable diseases

Although China has a well-organized program for routine vaccination, many children in poorer communities in rural Western China, and among ethnic minority or migrant communities, remain unprotected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Access to childhood vaccines among these groups may be lacking because:

  • babies in these communities are not always born in hospitals, and so they miss routine vaccines administered to newborns;
  • children are not always registered with local authorities that maintain vaccination records;
  • public awareness about the benefits of vaccination is inadequate; and
  • funding or local prioritization of vaccination services is insufficient.

Preventable childhood injury

Injuries afflict children across China. The most common causes of injury, both fatal and non-fatal, include road traffic accidents, cuts from sharp objects, falls, drowning, burns, animal bites and poisoning. These injuries frequently result from exposure to unintentionally dangerous environments in the home, community and school, inadequate supervision and a lack of awareness of risks or practices that expose children to risks of injury.

Improving children's health and safety

UNICEF partners with the Ministry of Health and the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to safeguard children from preventable diseases and injuries.

We collaborate on efforts to improve routine immunization programs in pilot areas. Our work includes:

  • expanding access to and ensuring quality of services;
  • introducing new vaccines approved by the Ministry of Health;
  • raising community awareness of the benefits of vaccination and the availability of free vaccines;
  • assisting schools to implement school-entry vaccination services;
  • supporting China's Child Immunization Registry Information System, which collects vaccine coverage information at all levels; and
  • contributing to the achievement of China's goal of eliminating local measles transmission.

In addition, we work to increase vaccination rates among migrant children. In pilot areas, we support efforts to identify migrant children, inform their parents of the availability of free vaccines, vaccinate the children, and create and maintain vaccination records.

With respect to the prevention of childhood injuries, our work includes advocacy and pilot programs. Our inputs led to targets on child-injury prevention being included in the National Plan of Action for Children (2011-2020).

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