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UNICEF report reveals problems with children's well-being in Latvia

BC, Riga, 09.05.2013.Print version
Latvia may serve as an example in reducing budget deficit and expenditures, however, the country cannot be considered exemplary in ensuring a child's well-being, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center social and economic policy analyst Ilze Plavgo informs, referring to the latest study on child well-being in rich countries, reports LETA.

The study, which was made available to the public in April, reveals that the well-being of Latvia's children and youth are among the lowest in the European Union and OECD member states, except Romania. There are reasons for concern in nearly all areas, however, the most critical results are in health, safety and behavior.


Moreover, researchers point out that the well-being of children is not directly connected with the country's economic state and the level of income. UNICEF Innocenti Research Center Director Gordon Alexander points out that, even though children's present and future are affected by economic conditions, the study shows that the country's social and economic policies are just as important. The well-being of children is influenced by budget expenditure cuts in social areas and smaller benefits. The impact of the financial crisis on children and youth is dependent not only on the crisis itself, but also, to a considerable degree, on the government's political decisions, emphasizes Alexander.


The most critical situation in Latvia is in health and safety. The study shows that the number of deaths among newborn, children and youth is one of the highest among developed countries. The level of child immunization is also among the lowest - 90 percent.


The study also reveals that there are problems with children's housing, environmental safety and behavior in Latvia.


Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United States are the only countries in which the homicide rate rises above 4 per 100,000. Almost all other countries fall into the range of 0 to 2.5 per 100,000.

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