By Victor Osae IHIDERO, Sokoto
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that it needs the support of the Kebbi State House of Assembly to fully implement the Primary Healthcare programme needed in boosting the health indicators in the state.
Speaking on a two day engagement meeting with the lawmakers in Sokoto, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Sokoto state, Muhammed Mohiuddin said “We invited the members of the House of Assembly here on how they can cooporate with us in the implementation of the health sector programmes.”
He added that the two day orientation meeting look at the demand generation, supply and the challenges on the ground, the lessons learnt saying, “The points I raised before them is that these three states, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara in terms of the available indicators are the most affected states in the world in terms of poverty.
“The poverty rate is 70% in these three states, 70% children are out of school, only 5% immunization coverage, exclusive Breastfeeding under 10%, access to safe water, sanitation all very poor.
“It is also far lower than the Nigeria average, the full immunization coverage in Nigeria is 33%, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara is 5% while in the South it is more than 50%.
“So with all these, we discussed what help they can provide for UNICEF in changing this indicators and they were very positive.
“We sort their support in the area of primary Healthcare (PHC) under one roof, because with Support from UNICEF the federal government already signed a bill called PHC under one roof and it is being implemented through out the states.
“Sokoto and Zamfara have already done this, but in Kebbi the Governor has signed the bill but the staff have not been transferred to the Ministry of health. So we are seeking their support to influence the Governor and commit him to fully implement and hand over the staff to the health ministry.”
Other issues discussed at the gathering the Chief said is the European Union money for Kebbi state for the health sector.
“it is a package where through UNICEF the EU is providing 20million Euros for three states, Bauchi, Adamawa and Kebbi, it is a big chunk of money coming here in the next four years and to that effect there is an agreement between the state governments, European Union and UNICEF in Abuja.
“Part of the money will start disbursing from next month, all the 21 LGAs of Kebbi state will be funded under this project, including construction of PHC centers, logistics and equipment and what ever is required.
“Apart from health it will also provide money for nutrition, community development and communication for development, awareness, health sanitation among others.” He added.