FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Senegal commits to free health care for children five years old and younger

As part of its "A Promise Renewed" initiative, Senegal announced on October 1 a commitment to make health care services free for children under five to try to decrease the child mortality rate.

"UNICEF supports all efforts aimed at reducing maternal, neonatal and under five mortality through community based high impact interventions," UNICEF Representative for Senegal Giovanna Barberis said. "Removing financial barriers in accessing health services means addressing one of the most important bottleneck and will enable the most vulnerable segments of the population to benefit from readily available services. We welcome and support this initiative of the Senegalese government."

The child mortality rate for children five years old and younger in Senegal sits at 7.2 percent. The new initiative, which makes consultations, vaccinations and hospitalizations free for all children five years of age and younger at health centers and hospitals throughout Senegal, seeks to lower the child mortality rate to 4.6 percent by 2015.

The new initiative will allow children to be immunized against and treated for malaria, pneumonia, severe acute malnutrition, pediatric HIV and diarrheal diseases free of charge. Senegal plans to expand offered services to health posts, health centers and emergency rooms by January 2014.

Senegal's "A Promise Renewed" initiative seeks to save the lives of 10,000 children by 2015.