…As Canada earmarks $3.5bn to support women, children health in Nigeria***
The UN has indicated a commitment to begin its implementation of over $4 billion, UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework (UNSDPF) in Nigeria by 2018.
The UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Edward Kallon stated this on Tuesday, during the UN Day Celebration in Abuja, adding that the scheme would run from 2018 to 2022.
Kallon said the theme of the celebration was “Concrete Action for SDGs”, adding that the scheme was to demonstrate UN’s commitment to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.
The resident representative said the UNSDPF was premised on SDGs principles, with clear mapping and linkages of contribution of each results area to SDGs target.
According to him, the UNSDPF 2018-2022 is the main strategic document defining the broad areas of support and assistance of the UN system to Nigeria.
He said it was a joint development and humanitarian framework for the over 20 UN agencies and organisations in Nigeria, focusing on Governance, Human Rights, Peace and Security.
He explained that it also focused on Equitable Quality Basic Services and Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth and Development.
He added that “the UNSDPF is major imperative for not only a joint-UN partnership but direct re-affirmation of support to government’s development agenda, especially the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme.
“A total of 193 world leaders recently reaffirmed their commitment to world peace and emphasised the SDGs both as a developmental imperative and operational framework for moving the world to greater prosperity.
“The leaders made the commitment at the recent concluded 72nd session of UN General Assembly in New York.
“I, therefore, urge policy makers and development partners in Nigeria to go beyond `business as usual’ approach to `business unusual’ approach to SDGs implementation.”
He also urged them to incorporate both the letter and spirit of Agenda 20139, as well as the AU commission’s Agenda 20163, into policies, plans and legislation at both federal and state levels.
While noting that government alone could not deliver the SDG promise, Kallon called for broad coalition with the private sector, development partners, academia, civil society organisations, among others, to achieve the goals.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Amb. Olakunle Bamgbose, said Nigeria was proud to be a committed member of the UN family.
According to him, the theme of the anniversary is apt and timely in view of the aspiration to tackle poverty and other challenges in Nigeria.
He said the country recognised SDGs as clear stimulus for generating coherence.
“We are convinced that full implementation of SDGs is crucial to the development of Nigeria. And it therefore calls for our collective goals and this will help to transform our world.
“Let me reassure you of Nigeria’s commitment to engage global communities and most importantly the UN; there is the need to promote effective and transformation of implementation of SDGs at national and sub-national level.
“These are goals that President Muhammadu Buhari remain personally committed to provide and ensure that no one is left behind,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr Christopher Thorney, Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, says the Canadian government has earmarked $3.5 billion to advance the health of women and children in Nigeria.
The High Commissioner made the disclosure during the Multi-Country Dissemination of the Rapid Access Expansion (RAcE) Project on Integrated Community Case Management of Childhood Illnesses (iCCM) in Abuja.
According to him, Canada has a long history of working to improve the health of women and children in Nigeria.
He said that other collaborative efforts were in the areas of polio eradication and other Maternal Newborn Child Health (MNCH) through Canada’s G8 initiative.
Thorney said that the initiative on MNCH was followed by the 2015-2020 commitment to invest $3.5bn in related programs over five years.
According to him, statistics on maternal and child deaths globally are troubling in spite of tremendous efforts already made.
“In 2016, 5.6 million children under the age of five died worldwide; to make that more understandable, that is about 15,000 child deaths per day.
“We also understand that three quarters of under-five mortality are also from leading causes such as diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia.
“All of these can be prevented or treated with access to simple and affordable interventions when they are available but certainly they are not always available.’’
He said that although most of the effective interventions for these diseases were known, simple and affordable, they were, however, often inaccessible to families who could not reach health facilities on time, especially within the crucial 24 hours.
Thorney noted that progress in reducing child mortality worldwide had been gradual and in some cases stagnant or reversed.
He said, “Unless we tackle the barriers that are preventing access to life saving treatment, we will always be at risk of losing the momentum we have gained.
“This is why Canada is proud of its support which has promoted the scale of Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) in Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo,’’ Thorney said.
Also, Wondi Alemu, Country Representative, WHO Nigeria, said that that the organisation was very proud of the work executed in Nigeria, Niger, DRC, Mozambique, Malawi on the iCCM.
“As to Nigeria, iCCM is a successful programme; I say a programme because it is a project that will last after this financing from the government of Canada.
“I believe the government and states ministries of health will take it up and replicate the strategy in other states,’’ he said.
According to Alemu, over 700 health workers implementing the iCCM have been trained with the support of WHO, under the direct supervision of states ministry of health.
He said the trained personnel were providing important service to communities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria started the implementation of iCCM in 2012, which is meant to reduce the burden of under-five deaths due to malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.
The programme targets under-served, hard-to-reach areas using Community Oriented Resource Persons.
The introduction of the intervention coincided with the re-positioning of Nigeria’s Child Health and Nutrition Agenda aimed at redeeming the unacceptable nutrition indices, and under-five mortality rate.