The UNICEF met with stakeholders from Kaduna State, Nasarawa State and Niger State to discuss a five-year implementation plan to improve the survival and development of women and children in the three states. The plan is tagged “State Engagement Plans (SEP). The meeting held at the UNICEF field office in Kaduna.
Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, the health specialist of the UNICEF Kaduna informed the participants that the main objective of the stakeholders’ meeting was to inform these three states about the UNICEF new country programme focus for Nigeria from 2018 to 2022. UNICEF had already met with several stakeholders earlier in 2018, to discuss the issues of malnutrition in Kaduna
The meeting was then called to develop the SEP across key sectors with focus on identified convergence local government areas. This meeting would thus help the partners understand the new engagement process to accelerate the achievement of result through the state engagement plan.
“At the end of the day, the state and partners would have a good understanding of the SEP process, identified priority convergence, LGAs and developed the draft plan”, she said.
The Officer in charge of the UNICEF Kaduna Field office, Dr, Baba Idris explained that the SEP was going to be an initiative that would strengthen the programme planning process in Kaduna, Niger and Nasarawa states and this would lead to fast track achievements. The focus of the five-year SEP was to accelerate the results through joint efforts at different administrative levels beginning with the communities through to the state level.
Dr. Baba said that the five-year plan would focus on the convergence of all interventions in the area of health services, nutrition, education, water sanitation and hygiene, immunization and child protection, among others. He explained that the plan is cost effective and very efficient as it would improve the children’s access to basic services that would improve their survival and development.
In response, the honourable commissioner for Health in Niger State, Dr. Mustapha Jibril said that developing the SEP has provided Niger State with the opportunities to make inputs that would enable them to lead the process and take ownership of the interventions as Niger was particularly concerned about the plight of women and children
“The meeting has provided us with opportunity to tell our development partners where our priorities are, and how to merge our priorities with the partners to achieve better result,’’ he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Health appreciated UNICEF, the organizers of the stakeholder’s meeting. He also reiterated the commitment of Nasarawa State toward meeting the needs of women and children in the state. He informed that the government of his state had made reasonable budgetary allocation in addressing women affairs and the issues that affect children in the state.
“It is our responsibility as a government to cater and protect our children to ensure their survival and development and we will continue to do our best,’’ he said.