Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Committee on Health and the Family at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with UNICEF, hosted a roundtable titled “Children’s Health – Challenges and Solutions”.

The Committee on Health and the Family at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with UNICEF, hosted a roundtable titled “Children’s Health – Challenges and Solutions”.



The Committee on Health and the Family at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with UNICEF, hosted a roundtable titled “Children’s Health – Challenges and Solutions”.

Apart from the members of parliament, the following also participated in the proceedings: Minister of Health, Prof. Dr Tomica Milosavljevic, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Rasim Ljajic as president of the Children’s Rights Council, UNICEF Director for Serbia, Judita Reichenberg, Director of the World Health Organisation in Serbia, Dr Dorrit Nitzan as well as representatives of health institutions, local self-government, international and non-government organisations.

The roundtable was chaired by The Committee on Health and the Family Chairperson, Snezana Stojanovic-Plavsic, who in her opening address stated that children are very rarely the subject of Assembly Committees stressing the need to take better care of the state of children’s health in Serbia and their health insurance. She emphasised Serbia’s lack of a special children’s law to protect their endangered rights.

At the beginning of work the participants of the roundtable were addressed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Oliver Dulic, who pointed out that children’s health is one of the issues that directly influences Serbia’s future and called upon all present to work together towards a better future for Serbia. Speaker Dulic also stressed the worrying data that there are about 27% smokers among fifteen-year-olds, and that one third of the preschool children are anemic.

Minister of Health, Tomica Milosavljevic, pointed out the negative natality. The live birthrate in the last 15 years in Serbia has been declining by 1.72 to 1.5%. He also revealed the fact that every year between 2001 to 2006 the number of live births has been declining while the number of stillbirths is on the increase.

Ministers Milosavljevic and Ljajic stated that in the fields of health and social protection the most endangered children are ones with special needs, Roma children, as well as internally displaced children and refugees. The children from the aforementioned most sensitive groups are often, due to their parents’ poverty, unable to fulfill their right to health protection.

The authorised Ministers announced the bringing of a number of legal and strategic documents which should improve the health and social conditions among the most endangered categories of the populace. Minister Milosavljevic also announced the adoption of national strategies on public health and perinatal protection.

The participants of the roundtable also pointed out the high poverty rate among children, stating data according to which about 200 thousand children live below the poverty line, and 400 thousand are affected by poverty in some way.

Dr Vojislava Stojiljkovic presented the results of the Serbia Fit for Children programme, as part of the Local Plan of Action for Children in Vranje, representing an example of good practice conducted in 22 Serbian municipalities.

The participants of the roundtable went on to open a discussion exchanging their opinions on the improvement of children’s health protection in Serbia.



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