By IHIDERO Victor Osae, Zaria
Dutsen Abba – a community in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State at the weekend commended the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for providing quality healthcare services for children and women in their community.
The commendation came when the community received a delegation of UNICEF team from New York led by Omar Abdi, the Deputy Executive Director of Programmes to assess how healthcare services are delivered in the community and how the people are engaged in healthcare development.
Some of the women who spoke to the team of journalists revealed that before the interventions of UNICEF, healthcare delivery in their community was less than adequate and as such deplorable.
Another community group noted that they use to travel as far as Zaria town for almost every medical attention they needed but now the quality of health services rendered by the Primary Healthcare Centre in their community is the same as the services rendered in urban centres.
In the same vein, the District Head of Dutsen Abba, Falalu Umar, also lauded UNICEF and Kaduna State Government for considering his district for interventions to improve the lives of women and children noting that the provisions of food supplements to fight malnutrition and other drugs have really improved the nutritional status of their children.
While speaking on the purpose of the visit to Dutsen Abba, Country Representative, UNICEF Nigeria, Mohammed Fall said, “The purpose of the visit is multiple. We have gone to the Northeast; Borno state particularly, and we have discovered that the challenges that women and children are facing is not peculiar to only Borno state.
“Now we are in Kaduna to meet with the State authority and at the same time, come to the community to see how the service is being delivered at community level for children. 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 intervention is a programme of the 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.
“Kaduna state government is one of the governments we would like to use as example 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 sharing data through an advocacy process, we have seen the Governor release counterpart funding. They released close to one million dollars recently in support of buying more therapeutic food for children suffering from severe and acute malnutrition.
“Let me also say that it is 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 state. That is what we want to build on and move forward”, he said.