(UNICEF’S Team and leaders of Dutsen Abba in Zaria, Kaduna when the team visited the community over the weekend)
//Godwin Ekosin, Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria//
UNITED Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Zaria over the weekend said it is satisfied with steps so far taken by Kaduna State Government in addressing issues that affects women and children with particular reference to efforts to address problem of acute malnutrition.
Deputy Executive Programmes, UNICEF, Omar Abdi who came from New York in United State of America alongside other top functionaries which include Director Programmes, Ted Chaiban and Regional Director, West and Central Africa, Marie Pierre said, apart from timely release of counterpart funding, Kaduna State government has shown a vision, a commitment and strong drive in addressing issues of children in Kaduna.
UNICEF team, who stated this while inspecting some malnutrition intervention at Primary Healthcare Centre at Dutsen Abba, Zaria local government area of the state said, “We have come here as part of UNICEF leadership from the New York. The purpose of the visit was multiple. We have gone to the Northeast Borno state particularly and we have discovered that challenges women and children are facing is not only in Borno state.
“Now we are in Kaduna to meet with State authority and at the same time to come to the community level and see how the service is being delivered at community level for children and we are completely satisfied with what we have seen in terms of engagement and commitment from both the government and community and it is very satisfactory.
“Of course there is room for improvement. The programme is the programme of government of Nigeria. We at UNICEF are just supporting by bringing technical assistance. We bring expertise from different part of the world. We Try to see where the result is coming and try to improve on them. Its all about how we can save and protect more children.
“The government of Kaduna is one of those we want to use as examples in terms of commitment and in terms of releasing budget for children. I think there have been several instances where as a result of interaction or as a result of sharing data through an advocacy process, we have seen the governor releasing counterpart funding. The one I would like to referred to which was close to $1million launched last year’s January in support of buying more therapeutic food for children suffering from acute malnutrition.
“Let me also say that its not only about money or resources, but the government has shown a vision, a commitment and strong drive in addressing issues of children in Kaduna. That is what we want to build on and move forward”, he narrated..
A leader in the community, Dr. Khalid Kugu who commended the state government and UNICEF for their interventions on issue of women and children however want the state government to supply electricity and additional health workers to the facility for effective service delivery.
According to him, ‘’on the issue of malnutrition, the UNICEF and Kaduna State government are doing a good job. But this is bringing a lot of people here and apart from thousands of people in this community, others are benefitting even people are coming from as far as 30 kilometers away from here.
“We want the government to do more. In 2013, I was a local government Vice Chairman and we have approved contract on electricity supply to this community but surprisingly up till now, it has not been completed though they have started. We have communicated also to the state government and they have sent their team to come assess the level it is today. The people here have been using their resources to support the local government. The local government has sent about 15 staff but the community itself has raised over 100 volunteers and that is why we are appealing to them to send more staff”, he requested.