By Victor Osai Ihidero, Sokoto
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Deputy Country Representative in Nigeria on Monday urged communities in Sokoto State to sustain the achievements they have recorded in the various intervention programmes across the state.
Pernille Ironside, the Deputy Representative, UNICEF Nigeria made the remarks during a monitoring visit to assess the impact of ongoing projects at different communities in the state.
She expressed satisfaction over the progress being achieved on various projects adding that they have impacted positively on the lives of benefiting communities.
According to her, the goal of UNICEF is to improve people’s living standards through facilitating access to community water supply, preventing open defecation, hand washing campaigns and other environmental protection systems which were prelude to good health.
She noted that children and mothers health were also targeted through Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme in addition to facilitating child immunizations, antenatal care, safe child delivery and other health programmes.
The Deputy Representative added that increase in child enrolment to model schools was also part of the UNICEF interventions in Sokoto state stressing that efforts to facilitate integrated model Qur’anic with modern education system of teaching were fully on course.
Speaking at CMAM project centre in Arkilla Primary Health Care Centre which was rehabilitated by UNICEF early this year, State Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said mothers were encouraged on exclusive breastfeeding of their babies as well as educated on local preparation of children nutrients.
Kakale said the efforts was to complement UNICEF support on malnutrition supplements noting that food items were readily available in our communities and urged families to live up to the expectation on their responsibilities.
He led the team to Child Delivery Rooms and other sections in the facility upgraded by the present administration of Governor Aminu Tambuwal in accordance with his mission of One Functional PHC Per Ward Approach.
In Adarawa Model Primary School in Tangaza local government area, the State Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Mohammed Arzika Tureta, said the state government has paid its N400 million counterparts funding on SHAWN projects and also led the team to renovated toilets, handwashing instruments provided for benefit of children.
Tureta said community members were mobilized to take care of the solar powered boreholes and school facilities as measure to ensure projects sustainability of the items through community involvements.
He commended Governor Tambuwal for supports that ensure success of the programmes noting that the Governor made access to joint UNICEF/State government funds readily to execute programmes.
Speaking at Integrated Qur’anic model school in Takatuku community in Bodinga local government area, the State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary School Education, Dr Jabbi Kilgori, said 4,000 Qur’anic schools were targeted to be incorporated into the integrated school systems designed by the present administration.
Kilgori said an inaugurated a committee of traditional rulers under the leadership of Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, to facilitate the programme and ensure high enrollments in recognition of social, traditional norms and beliefs on the side of most parents on modern education perspectives in the society.
He expressed optimism that enrolments into conventional primary and Qur’anic integrated schools would be enhanced adding that schemes to employ teachers within the community hosting the schools were also designed to prevent cases of teachers’ absence from their duty posts which according to him is a source for worry.
The Chief of UNICEF Sokoto Field Office as well as State Commissioners of relevant miniseries believe that the monitoring visit was very useful and a step forward to enhancing the existant collaboration between UNICEF and Sokoto state government for the betterment of children.