An NGO, ‘Save the Children International Nigeria’ (SCI) has warned against disruption in nutrition, immunisation and other health services for children if facilities become overstretched due to spike in COVID-19 cases.
Isah Ibrahim, a Nutrition Advocacy Adviser at SCI Kaduna field office, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday.
Ibrahim said that if health workers are infected by the coronavirus, it might adversely affect the ongoing efforts to save children from diseases and acute malnutrition.
“SCI is calling on federal and state governments to scale up investment in health systems to enable the country to respond to disease outbreaks without compromising other health services.
“SCI also wants governments to roll out public awareness campaigns in communities to stop the spread of the infection; prevention information, testing facilities and referral systems,’’ he said.
He added that multiple channels should be used to reach the people with information on how to prevent and identify the COVID-19, with the right knowledge regarding what to do in case of suspicion of infection.
According to him, containment and growing economic pressure expose girls to gender-based violence at home and force families to adopt negative coping mechanisms such as sexual exploitation and child marriage.
He said that the interruption of children’s safe and appropriate care, through the absence, incapacitation or loss of primary caregivers, exposed children to negative coping strategies such as violence and exploitation.
He, therefore, urged governments at all levels to ensure that preparedness and control measures for COVID-19 protect children, especially the orphans and other children that required hospitalisation.
The government, he said, should also provide income and livelihood support to vulnerable families to reduce the risk of negative coping strategies that would put children, particularly girls, at risk.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
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