Mr Maulid Warfa, the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Kano, has called on Kano and Katsina state governments to allocate more resources to the four key sectors for children and women for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The four keys thematic areas are: nutrition, education, health as well as water and sanitation.
Warfa made the call at the sidelines of a 2-day 2019 end of year review meeting and 2020 states engagement Planning workshop held in Katsina on Thursday.
He said the call was necessary in order to ensure that the challenges bedevilling the four key areas were addressed in 2020 to improve the living standards of the children in the states.
“We want commitment from the two states that an equal resources be allocated to the four key areas so that they can address the underlying problems that are militating against achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are expecting the states to increase resources in the four key sectors because every country is working towards achieving those key sectors to improve the quality of education in the two states to enhance socio-economic status of its people,” he said.
He expressed concern over the current student/teacher ration in the two states and called on the state governments to take urgent steps to address the problem with a view to enhancing the quality of education.
“The current students/teacher ration of 92:1 and 103:1 in the two states has to be changed. Infant and maternal mortality is also very high and in terms of nutrition a significant number of children are malnourished.
“So alot of investments have to be made in the four key areas especially in education in order to improve the quality of education in the states,” he said.
The UNICEF official said the meeting was aimed at reviewing 2019 outcome indicators of Kano and Katsina states with the aim of improvement and to identify challenges in the implementation of the programmes.
According to him, the meeting was also intended to set strategic direction for 2020 and to align UNICEF priorities with state development plans.
NAN reports that the meeting was attended by various stakeholders from the four key sectors of the two states.
Edited & Vetted By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Optimal breastfeeding, complementary feeding will prevent malnutrition in children – UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday said that optimal breastfeeding and age-appropriate complementary feeding practices would prevent malnutrition among children under five years.
Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, a Nutrition Specialist at the UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, stated this in Kaduna at the end of a three-day training for traditional birth attendants, women leaders, health workers and nutrition focal persons.
The training was organised by the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) to promote optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices toward ending malnutrition in Kaduna State.
Ezeife explained that good nutrition is the bedrock of child survival, health, and development.
She added that well-nourished children would grow, learn, participate, and contribute to the development of their communities.
She said that the well-nourished children would also be resilient in the face of disease, disasters, and other global crises.
“But for the millions of children suffering from acute malnutrition, death is inevitable except something is done urgently.
“For millions more, chronic malnutrition will result in stunting – an irreversible condition that literally stunts the physical and cognitive growth of children.”
She said that with optimal breastfeeding practices and adequate complementary feeding, malnutrition would be averted among children and would give them a good start in life.
The nutrition specialist said that optimal brain development of a child depended largely on sufficient quantities of key nutrients during the first 1,000 days of life, which breast milk and age-appropriate complementary feeding will provide.
“As such, early initiation of breastfeeding within 30 minutes to one hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months presents a window of opportunity for the nourishment of children.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that infants should not be given any form of complementary food until after the first six months of age, in addition to breast milk.
“Complementary feeding is introduced after six months, when breastfeeding alone is no longer sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of infants, and therefore, other foods and liquids are needed, along with breast milk,” she said.
Mr Silas Ideva, CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, explained that the objective of the training was for the participants to understand the importance of feeding children the right kinds of food.
Ideva added that the training was also organised to identify and resolve the difficulties in ensuring optimal IYCF practices in communities.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Peter Dada
UNICEF tracks 544,951 out of schools children in Adamawa
The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) says it tracked about 544,951 out of school children in Adamawa in 2019.
Mr Bhanu Pathak, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, said this at a ceremony to mark the commencement of reconstruction and rehabilitation of 80 schools in Adamawa ,held in Fufore, headquarters of Fufore Local Government Area (LGA) of the state on Thursday.
Pathak, however, said that about 94 per cent ( 514,743 ) of the children were returned to school after some efforts.
He said that UNICEF partnership with the State Government in the education sector over the years had yield positive results.
“Among the positive partnership results are in 2029 about 544,951 out of school children were tracked in five LGAs ,where 94 per cent of the children were successful returned to school.
” Also, over 599,417 additional children were enroled into school as a result of enrolment drive in camps and host communities across the state.
” And today, we are witnessing another important flag off of project on renovation and reconstruction of 80 schools in Fufore and Guyuk LGAs before the end of 2020,” Pathak said.
The field officer said that another set of schools would be considered in additional four LGAs ultimately, to contribute to quality education in the state.
Pathak urged the state government to release the N200 million counterpart funding for the implementation all basic education intervention in the state for 2020.
Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri thanked UNICEF for its efforts in ensuring that children in the state were supported to get basic and quality education.
Fintiri said that the enormous task before his administration was to ensure that basic education was made available to every child in state.
“I am delighted to hear the progress report of the Chairman of the Board and I want to use this opportunity to thank the UNICEF and development partners on Basic Education in the state including the Universal Basic Education Board for sponsoring some of these laudable projects.
“Our greatest asset is the children and educating them properly is the surest way to preserve the asset.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on parents and community leaders to ensure that children are enroled in schools when schools resume,” Fintiri said. ( NAN)
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
NBS solicits Nigerians’ support on survey on children, women
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has appealed to the general public to support its survey on the situation of women and children it is conducting, is brought to “ a successful end”.
Mr Sunday Ichedi, the Head, Public Affairs and International Relations Unit, NBS made the appeal on Wednesday in a statement.
Ichedi said that Nigeria had formally started the process of conducting the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS6)/National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NICS) with a virtual inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee.
The programme was developed to support countries in the collection of internationally comparable data on a wide range of indicators on the situation of children and women.
MICS surveys measure key indicators that allowed countries to generate data for use in policies and programmes, and to monitor progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed upon commitments.
“The National Steering Committee on MICS6/NICS appeals to the general public for their support in ensuring that the survey is brought to successful end.
“Nigeria has formally commenced the process of conducting the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS6)/National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NICS) with an inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee virtually held on Sept. 15.
“The task of the committee is to oversee the whole process of MICS6/NICS 2020 to ensure that all activities concerning the survey are effectively carried out for a successful outcome,” he said.
Ichedi said that MICS was the largest source of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on women and children worldwide.
He said the data focused on issues such as health, education, child protection, water and sanitation, among others.
“Since its inception, a total of five rounds have been conducted with technical support mostly from UNICEF,’’ he said.
Members of the National Steering Committee were drawn from relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government and international partners, of which the NBS is the chair.
Members of the committee included National Population Commission; Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Education; and Ministry of Women Affairs.
Others are Ministry of Water Resources; Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Central Bank of Nigeria; and National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Also Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs; Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention; Representatives of States Bureau of Statistics (Bauchi and Sokoto); and GAVI (Vaccine Alliance).
Finally, Melinda and Gates Foundation; UNICEF; United Nations Population Fund; Department for International Development (DFID); World Health Organisation; World Bank; and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“For more enquiries on this survey please contact Mr Adeyemi Adeniran, the Director of Real Sector and Household Statistics Department, NBS through the number: 08065646116,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf
UNICEF urges FG to reverse prison sentence on 13-year-old boy
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged the Federal Government to reverse the sentencing of a 13-year-old boy, Omar Farouq, to 10 years’ imprisonment with menial labour for blasphemy.
UNICEF’S Representative in Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, who made the appeal in a statement on Wednesday, said the sentencing negated all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice that Nigeria, and by implication, Kano State had signed on to.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Farouq was on Aug. 10, 2020 convicted of blasphemy and on Aug. 18, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by the Kano State Sharia Court at Feli Hockey.
Hawkins said: “The sentencing of this child, 13-year-old Omar Farouk, to 10 years in prison with menial labour is wrong.
“The sentence is in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nigeria ratified in 1991.
“It is also a violation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which Nigeria ratified in 2001 and the Nigeria’s Child Rights Act 2003, which domesticates Nigeria’s international obligations to protect children’s right to life, survival and development,” he said.
The representative expressed appreciation for the strides recently made by the Kano State Government to pass the Kano State Child Protection Bill.
He however, called for an urgent need to accelerate the enactment of the bill so as to ensure that all children under 18, including Farouq, are protected.
He also urged the government to ensure that all children in Kano are treated in accordance with child rights standards.
“UNICEF will continue to provide support to the Federal and Kano State Governments on child protection system strengthening, including justice sector reform, to ensure that states put in place child-sensitive measures to handle cases involving children.
“This includes adopting alternative measures, in line with international best practices, for the treatment of children alleged to have committed offences that do not involve detention or deprivation of family care, ” Hawkins said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Dada