The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has on Wednesday said that it would support Kaduna State Government to implement Child-Sensitive Social Protection programmes in 2020.
Dr Zakari Adam, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna stated this in Kaduna on the sideline of a one-day Kaduna State and UNICEF 2019 End of Year Review and Planning Meeting with relevant stakeholders.
Adam said that UNICEF would “strongly continue” to support the state government to design and implement social protection policies and programmes centred on children.
According to him, this will entail coming together to ensure that the whole budgeting system of the state on social intervention are children sensitive.
“We will work to ensure that from the family to community and all our institutions are aware of the challenges facing children and the need for children to access social basic services,” he said.
He said that in 2019, the state with support from UNICEF recorded significant progress in efforts to ensure that children access basic services for uninterrupted growth and development.
“In nutrition, for example, we saw some reduction in the number of children exposed to malnutrition as well as encouraging a reduction in the prevalence of HIV and AIDS.
“In Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), we have seen a huge number of communities satisfied open defecation free.
“We have equally recorded some progress in health programmes, particularly on immunisation and the fight against preventable diseases and major killers of our children.”
The UNICEF chief commended Kaduna state government for the commitment toward addressing the plight of children in the state.
He said that UNICEF Kaduna Office was also supporting Nasarawa, Niger and Kwara, adding that Kaduna state stood out, in terms of commitment to address challenges affecting children.
“For example, in Child Protection, what took other states two years to achieve, we achieved in five months in Kaduna state.
“This is quite encouraging and a demonstration of the state political will to work toward improving the welfare of the children by providing holistic services to vulnerable children.
“We are on a good track, but we need to speed up and fast-track some aspects of our intervention for the good of the children.”
He stressed the need for UNICEF and the state government would consolidate on the achievements to accelerate the progress of work for the benefit of women and children in the state in 2020.
Adam noted that UNICEF and the state government were investing resources to address children related issues but stressed the need for more investment to achieve greater results.
Earlier, Mr Thomas Gyang, Commissioner, Planning and Budget Commission, thanked UNICEF for the tremendous support in improving child nutrition, access to clean water and capacity building of workers.
“UNICEF had equally been supporting us in developing social protection policy and child-friendly community initiative, reducing maternal and infant mortality and prevalence of HIV/AIDs,” Gyang said.
Represented by the Director, Development Aid Coordination in the commission, Malam Salisu Lawal, Gyang said that the meeting was organised to review achievements, challenges and plan for better results in 2020.