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May 30, 2007
Ministry of Health releases results of new Armenia Demographic and Health Survey

Calverton, MD. Earlier today, the Ministry of Health released the final report for the 2005 Armenia Demographic and Health Survey (ADHS). The survey, which interviewed nearly 8,000 men and women across the country, was implemented by the National Statistical Service and the Ministry of Health. The ADHS found that Armenia’s total fertility rate (TFR) is 1.7, the same as it was three years preceding the survey. The TFR represents the total number of children a woman will bear during her reproductive years.

Other key findings from the ADHS are highlighted below.

Sharp Decline in Childhood Vaccinations, but Improvements in Infant Mortality
Infant mortality has declined for the past 15 years to the current rate of 26 deaths per every 1,000 live births. While this trend is positive, the survey results point to the need for further improvement in key areas of child health. For example, only 60 percent of young children (age 12 to 23 months) have received all of the vaccinations recommended by the World Health Organization. This coverage is down from 76 percent in 2000. Consequently, 40 percent of children do not have complete protection against serious childhood illnesses, such as polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. Almost all babies in Armenia are breastfed, but only one-third of babies less than six months of age are exclusively breastfed as recommended by the government.

Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS Are Common
An estimated one-third of unmarried men age 15-24 have had sex, but just half of them understand HIV/AIDS transmission and HIV prevention. On a positive note, however, of those young men who do engage in premarital sexual activity, 88 percent used a condom the last time they had sex. But only two-thirds of youth age 15-24 said they knew where they could obtain a condom.

The stigma of AIDS is widespread in Armenia. Only 15 percent of women and men said they would be willing to care at home for a relative sick with HIV/AIDS. Only 7 percent of women and 6 percent of men said they would be willing to buy fresh vegetables from a shopkeeper who was HIV positive.

Contraceptive Use Down
Married women’s use of contraception has declined over the past five years. The 2005 ADHS found that 53 percent of married women use contraception, down from 61 percent in 2000.

Among married women, the use of traditional methods (34 percent) is almost 75 percent higher than the use of modern methods (20 percent). The most common method, by far, is withdrawal (28 percent), followed by IUD (9 percent) and condom (8 percent).

Armenians Slow to Adopt Preventive Health Practices
Results from the 2005 ADHS reveal that the general population could do more to improve their own health. Simple health practices can improve the well-being of women and children. For example, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among Armenian women, but the vast majority of women do not know how to examine their own breasts. Just 10 percent of women performed a breast self-examination in the three months preceding the survey. Children suffering from diarrhea should receive plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, but less than half of sick children receive this easy, free home treatment.

About the 2005 ADHS
The 2005 Armenia Demographic and Health Survey (ADHS) is based on interviews with 6,566 women and 1,447 men age 15-49 from all regions of Armenia. The survey, the second DHS in Armenia, was implemented by the National Statistical Service and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Armenia provided funding, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)/Armenia and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)/Armenia supported the survey through in-kind contributions. Macro International Inc. provided technical support for the survey through the MEASURE DHS project.