By Philip Yatai
Kaduna – UNICEF has given kudos to Kaduna State for recording appreciable improvement in health, water, sanitation and hygiene(WASH) and nutrition among other sectors in the first half of 2018 as contained in its mid-year reports.
The UNICEF Chief of Field Officer, Kaduna, Dr Zakari Adam, made the commendation at the opening of the Mid-Year Review Meeting held on Tuesday in Kaduna.
According to him, the state government has demonstrated commitment to its child development agenda, focusing on health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene(WASH) as well as basic education among other sectors.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that in health, the achievements include treatment of 28,946 children affected with diarrhoea and 7,734 affected with pneumonia.
Also, 96.2 per cent of the about 400,000 children under one year in the state were vaccinated with the third dose of pentevalent vaccine ( Penta) against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenza-type B
In nutrition, 4,843 severe malnourished children were admitted in various Community Management of Acute Malnutrition centres in the state, out of which 3,245 were cured.
A total of 258,412 people are living in Open Defecation Free communities from the 120,417 targeted for the period under Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
Similarly 377,924 people acquired basic knowledge on hand washing, safe excreta disposal and water supply which was beyond the 200,000 target for the period under review.
He explained that the meeting was meant to deliberate on various sectors such as nutrition, health, water sanitation and hygiene, HIV/AIDS and education among others with a view to sharing success stories, challenges and lessons learned in the first half of the year.
“The goal was to review what our achievements are, our challenges, lessons learnt and how to improve in the remaining six months.
“And I am glad to say that Kaduna state government and other partners have been very committed in achieving results in the various sectors to ensure children’s protection, survival and development, “he said.
He, however, identified resource mobilisation as a major challenge in achieving the targets set for 2018.
“Although UNICEF is working to mobilise more funds from donor countries and other sources, domestic resources are highly needed to help us achieve results, “Adam said.
Also, Muhammad Abdullahi, the Commissioner in charge of the state Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), said that UNICEF interventions in the last six months had improved the status of women and children in health, nutrition and hygiene in the state.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the commission’s Director, Development Aid Coordination, Mrs Phoebe Yayi, restated the state government commitment towards ensuring steady development of every child in the state.
“This meeting would enable us agree on priority activities for the remaining six months of 2018, map out convergence for State Engagement Plan implementation and strengthen the role of government,”Abdullahi said.
NAN reports that the meeting received reports of achievements and challenges from stakeholders while plans were mapped out for the remaining six months.