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Primary Attendance Lowest In The World - UNICEF‎‎

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Primary Attendance Lowest In The World - UNICEF‎

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NAIROBI , Dec 15, 2005 (IRIN) – Only one out of every five children in Somalia is enrolled in primary school, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in its State of the World's Children report for 2006.

Somali children are further disadvantaged by disease, conflict and harsh environmental conditions, the agency added.

"The net primary attendance ratio is lower than anywhere in the world, at just 12 percent for boys and 10 percent for girls," the report said. "Years of underinvestment have left Somalia lagging behind the rest of the developing world in education."

UNICEF said the lack of a functioning national administration since 1991 had further constrained human development in Somalia , which according to the 2004 under-five mortality rate, has the sixth worst under-five mortality rate in the world.

Some 26 percent of Somali children are moderately or severely underweight, while 133 out of every 1,000 children will die in infancy, UNICEF said.

"An estimated 5.6 million Somali children continue to live without or with limited access to basic services and are highly vulnerable to preventable disease," UNICEF noted in its humanitarian action plan for Somalia in 2006.

The agency said despite continued conflict, efforts by local and international partners ensured that Somali children benefited from greater access to healthcare, education, clean water and an enhanced protective environment.

"Increasing national stability presents us with an opportunity to include all children in the formulation of the country's development agenda," said Christian Balslev-Olesen, UNICEF country representative for Somalia .

"Putting children at the centre of that agenda aims to ensure that we plan for the education, health and protection of every Somali child: including the poorest, most vulnerable pastoralist child in the remotest rural village," he added.


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