Information by Country

Syrian Arab Republic: Background

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
The Syrian Arab Republic has achieved considerable progress in social development. Infant and under-five mortality rates have declined. With high immunization coverage rates, the country is certified as polio-free: no polio cases have been reported since 1995. Primary education is compulsory and according to the multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS 2000), primary school net enrolment rates are high -- 98 and 99 per cent for girls and boys respectively.  Progress has been uneven, however, and geographic disparities persist. 

Although the country has been certified as polio-free, not enough attention has been paid to verticality and poor quality within the health services, nor to preventive and home-care aspects of child health. The adoption in 1999 by the Ministry of Health of the Worls Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF-supported approach for Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) was a step in the right direction. Some 200 awareness seminars were held for youth and health workers on HIV/AIDS.

In education, UNICEF advocacy led to official recognition of the problem of girl drop-outs as a priority concern. Support to the Ministry of Education in improving the quality of basic education through the Global Education Initiative (GEI) prompted the adoption of this initiative for implementation in all of the country's 12,000 primary schools over the coming 10 years. Not all experiences, however, were positive: the project for vocational training of girls and women did not address the more basic problem of drop-outs and covered only a limited number of girls.


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