UNICEF applauded over support for children

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By Felicia Imohimi

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has commended the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its efforts at ensuring that the rights of Nigerian child are realised.

The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, made the commendation at a media dialogue on Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission, organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the ministry on Tuesday in Calabar.

Mohammed, who was represented by Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju, Deputy Director and Head CRIB, noted that UNICEF had been in the forefront of ensuring the health and well-being of the child.

He also commended the organisation for collaborating with government to implement programmes geared towards ensuring adequate and standard health care as well as preservation of social amenities.

“The need to bring basic health services to every Nigerian child cannot be over emphasised.

“This is an issue we must continue to pursue until we attain that level where we can confidently say that every Nigerian child has access to basic health care services.

“It has been a difficult task ensuring that children’s rights to issues affecting them are not infringed, they have the right to live free from diseases and HIV/AIDS.

“We must continuously redouble our efforts to achieve a nation free from HIV/AIDS, especially for our children,” he noted.

The minister urged the media to focus on championing the course for the realisation of the rights of children to live free from the virus.

He, however, said that the child must live free from HIV/AIDS.

Mohammed urged the media to improve their reportage on the low level of awareness that exists among the people, to ensure the realisation of health needs of children within the framework of child’s rights.

He urged them to use their reportage to influence community and religious leaders to support health service utilisation through constant sensitisation to their communities and congregation that PMTCT would improve the health of pregnant women and greatly benefit the community.

“I urge you to engage community mobilisers and volunteers, to educate women of reproductive age on the benefits of Antenatal Care (ANC) and PMTCT services through facilitated community dialogues.

“Use your ingenuity to increase the knowledge among spouses, partners and family members and address HIV related stigma and deep gender inequalities in decision making,” Mohammed said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the media dialogue is to improve media advocacy for PMTCT and provide a suitable platform for harnessing new journalistic thrusts as well as develop a work plan of action that will guide future media engagements in PMTCT.

The dialogue is also aimed at exploring new frontiers of effective communication as a crucial component of the national response to the growing challenge of HIV transmission through mother-to-child.

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