Although Mozambique has posted impressive economic gains since the end of a brutal civil war in the early 1990s, nearly half of its children still live in extreme poverty, deprived of basic nutrition, health care, education or shelter, according to a United Nations report launched today.
The analysis finds that while the country shows potential to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to poverty reduction, child mortality and maternal health by the target date of 2015, the social and economic benefits of the last decade have not been distributed evenly among Mozambique’s estimated 10 million children.
About 49 per cent face severe water deprivation, which means they only have access to surface water – such as rivers – for drinking, or they live more than 30 minutes away from a usable source.
Almost as many lack easy access to basic sanitation, including a communal toilet or a latrine, and one in four aged between seven and 18 years old have either never been to school or do not currently attend.
The problems are worst in rural areas, where almost two out of three children live in extreme poverty, those households headed by a woman and for Mozambique’s 1.6 million orphans, who have often lost their parents to AIDS-related illnesses.
Launching the report in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, James Morris, said the report was important because it provided the most comprehensive picture yet of the state of the country’s children.