Showing posts with label UNICEF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UNICEF. Show all posts

WHO, UNICEF alert to worsening mental ill-health in Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), yesterday, on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day (WMHD) alerted to aggravating risks for mental ill-health in Africa.

They said at least one in seven children in Sub-Saharan Africa experiences significant psychological hardship, stressing the need for increased investment and access prevention and response services on the continent.

WHO and UNICEF said kids and adolescents were predisposed to mental health problems, especially vulnerable children facing poverty, discrimination and violence.

They observed that lack of basic social, health and education services, combined with wide-reaching structural inequalities, was worsening the situation.

Both global agencies said the effects of climate change, compounded by high rates of HIV infection, adolescent pregnancies and humanitarian emergencies, were ongoing threats to mental wellbeing of children and adolescents in Africa.

Research showed that 50 per cent of mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75 per cent by mid-20s. UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed M. Fall, said: “Addressing child and adolescent mental health in Africa is urgent. Over the years, millions of young people have been exposed to challenges most adults would find very difficult to cope with, often having to deal with the psychological impacts on their own. Our systems are still failing them.”

To respond to the growing crisis, UNICEF and the WHO committed to a 10-year Joint Programme on Mental Health and Psychosocial Well-being and Development of Children and Adolescents in Africa. Signed in 2020, the decade-long collaborative effort is working with local governments to strengthen mental health and psychosocial support systems for children, adolescents and their caregivers. This would also help bring mental health into national preparedness efforts and take away any stigma that might come with mental health issues.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, submitted: “Investment in mental health remains extremely low in Africa, with government expenditure at less than one U.S. dollar per capita. We simply cannot afford to let millions of children, needing care, go without help.

“It is time to make a difference and ensure that children grow into adulthood free of the potentially lifelong and devastating impacts of unaddressed mental health challenges.” Theguardianng

Africa: UNICEF raises alarm over COVID-19 threats to children

United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has raised the alarm over the impact of Coronavirus on children, saying it threatens to cause “irreversible harm to children’s education, nutrition and well-being.”

In a statement to commemorate the World Children’s Day, made available to The Guardian in Akure, yesterday, by Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, the UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos office, the agency warned that it might lead to a “Lost generation.” Guardianng reports

Ejiofor noted that the document, titled:  “Averting a Lost COVID Generation,” is the first UNICEF report to comprehensively outline the dire and growing consequences for children as the pandemic drags on.

According to her, “it shows that while symptoms among infected children remain mild, infections are rising and the longer-term impact on the education, nutrition and well-being of an entire generation of children and young people can be life-altering.”

She highlighted the new data from UNICEF surveys across 140 countries as COVID-related disruptions pose the most serious threat in respect of critical health and social services for children to children.


COVID-19: UNICEF demands emergency budget for education

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged South-West states to provide emergency budget for education to meet up with the exigencies of COVID-19 realities as schools are planning to reopen for activities.

The UNICEF Education Specialist, Akure Field Office, Murtala Adoji Mohammed, said this yesterday during a three-day workshop on review of MTBESP in Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Council of Ondo State.

The training was organised by UNICEF for the South-West states under Akure Field Office namely: Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, and Ogun states, excluding Lagos State, but including Edo State.

Lagos Govt announces full reopening of primary, secondary schools

Mohammed noted that the Medium Term Basic Education Sector Plans (MTBESP) from 2017-2019 to 2021-2023 workshop was to support the states to deliver results and ensure students are in school learning.

According to him, the MTBESP review had yielded significant results in most states supported by UNICEF in the past, leading to the building of more schools in the rural areas.

He, however, said that there was no specific budget per school to meet the present COVID-19 realities to provide the necessary support.

“We are calling on the government to have a specific budget per school so that the schools will be able to procure water, bucket and washing soap. The parents are doing amazingly well by providing the pupils with face masks,” he said. Theguardianng


Pneumonia can kill two million Nigerian children says UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund on Wednesday said a new analysis showed that two million Nigerian children could die of pneumonia in the next 10 years unless prevention and treatment services were improved on.

The statement said malnutrition, air pollution and lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics were among the drivers of preventable deaths from pneumonia, adding that last year, a child died every three minutes in Nigeria.

UNICEF said, “Boosting efforts to fight pneumonia could avert over two million child deaths from pneumonia and other major diseases in Nigeria, new analysis has found.

“The modelling by Johns Hopkins University is being released today (Wednesday) as nine leading health and children’s agencies host the world’s first global conference on childhood pneumonia in Barcelona, Spain.

“Forecasts show that 1.4 million children under the age of five could die from pneumonia over the next decade in Nigeria, on current trends – the highest number of any country in the world and more than 20 per cent of childhood deaths from pneumonia globally.

“However, an estimated 809,000 of these deaths would be averted by significantly scaling up services to prevent and treat pneumonia. Researchers also found boosting pneumonia services would create an additional ripple effect, preventing 1.2 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time.”

Quoting researchers findings, UNICEF said by 2030, that effect would be so large that pneumonia interventions alone would avert over two million predicted under-five child deaths in Nigeria from all causes combined.

It added that pneumonia was the leading killer of children in Nigeria, causing 19 per cent of under-five deaths.

UNICEF Nigeria’s Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, stated that the global health agency had a responsibility to do all it could to avert deaths by pneumonia in the country. Punch

UNICEF: 250,000 children die within first day of life in Nigeria

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says no fewer than 250,000 children in Nigeria die on their first day of life, describing the current indices for child health in the country as “alarming.”

Mr. Maulid Warfa, the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Kano, made the remark in a goodwill message at the opening ceremony of the 51st Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Kano on Wednesday.

NAN reports that the conference was organised in collaboration with UNICEF with the main theme: ‘The Impact of Rapid Population Growth on the Child’.

Warfa said the figure is the second highest in the world, according to the 2017 multi indicator cluster survey.

“The current indices for child health remains alarming as more than 250,000 children in Nigeria die on their first day of life, the second highest in the World according to the 2017 multi indicator cluster survey.

“The situation of Children in Nigeria today is at a crossroads, for change could be either catastrophic if it continues in its current trajectory or transformative if the opportunities available are strategically harnessed.

“Clearly Nigeria is not the best country for those who survive. A child born in Nigeria today is likely to live to the year 2074 while a child born in Denmark is likely to live until the 22nd Century! I don’t want to mention the quality of life as he or she grows up.

“Unfortunately, children are mostly dying from preventable causes such as premature births, complications during delivery, infections like sepsis, malaria and pneumonia – which is a key theme for today’s gathering,” he said.

He said only broad-based multi-sectoral and multi-partner collaboration could ensure that the health and well-being of Nigerian children are secure.

He said UNICEF and the Pediatric Association of Nigeria remained natural allies in both our vision toward ensuring that every child survived and thrive, our mission to influencing policies and programmes that impact the wellbeing of every child. NAN

UNICEF: More than 47 Nigerian children, adolescents die every day from Aids-Related causes

UNICEF has disclosed that more than 47 children and adolescents died every day from AIDS-related causes in 2018 in Nigeria, according to a global snapshot on children, HIV and AIDS released by UNICEF in advance of World AIDS Day.

In a statement made available to press yesterday explained that Low access to antiretroviral treatment and limited prevention efforts are the leading causes for these deaths, with only 54 per cent of children aged 0-14 living with HIV globally in 2018 - or 790,000 children - receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy.

"Progress has been made in the battle against HIV and AIDS - but we must do more, especially when it comes to Nigerian children and adolescents," said UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative Peter Hawkins.

"Testing and treating children and adolescents is a matter of life and death - and we must choose life."

According to the latest global data, regional disparities in access to treatment among children living with HIV is very high - with West and Central Africa faring worst.

Access is highest in South Asia, at 91 per cent, followed by the Middle East and North Africa (73 per cent), Eastern and Southern Africa (61 percent), East Asia and the Pacific (61 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (46 percent) and West and Central Africa (28 percent).

Access to treatment by children living with HIV in Nigeria is only 35 per cent.

Mothers' access to antiretroviral therapy to prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies has increased globally, however, reaching 82 per cent, up from 44 per cent less than 10 years ago. This figure in Nigeria is 44 per cent, up from 22 per cent in 2009.

It is good news that more and more pregnant women are receiving antiretroviral treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, which has helped avert about 2 million new HIV infections and prevented the deaths of over 1 million children under five years old around the world," said Peter Hawkins.

But we need to see the same kind of progress in ensuring that children who already have the virus are receiving lifesaving treatment. HIV programmes need to be fully funded and equipped to preserve, protect and improve the quality of life for Nigerian children. We cannot and must not abandon these children," said Hawkins.

Additional data from the report include:

In 2018, around 160,000 children aged 0-9 were newly infected with HIV, bringing the total number of children in this age group living with HIV to 1.1 million.

89,000 children under the age of five were infected during pregnancy or birth and 76,000 were infected during breastfeeding in 2018

140,000 adolescent girls were newly infected with HIV in 2018, compared to 50,000 adolescent boys.

To end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat for future generations, UNICEF is urging governments and partners to:

Improve HIV testing and treatment data for children and adolescents to better respond to the needs of this vulnerable population.

Invest in and implement effective and innovative interventions to urgently close the persistent testing and treatment gap for children and adolescents living with HIV. Vanguard

2m people at risk in Katsina over Meningitis – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said an estimated 2 million people in Katsina state are at risk of Meningitis. The UNICEF Country Representatives, Peter Hawkins, disclosed this at the launching of Maternal, New Born, Child Health week in Katsina

Hawkins, who was represented by Oluniyi Oyedokun from UNICEF Kano field office, said “in 2018, there were 1,321 cases of meningitis across the 34 local government areas of the state.”

He said meningitis is an extremely distressing disease that causes significant loss of life especially in countries located within what is called ‘the meningitis belt’ which consists of almost all the states in Nigeria including Katsina.

“As we mark the formal launch of the introduction of meningitis A vaccines into the national routine immunization schedule, I would also like to use this medium to emphasise on the need to continue to sensitize everyone in the state on the importance of routine immunization in preventing their children against common childhood killer diseases,” he said He added:

 “UNICEF alongside other development partners supported Katsina state in ensuring that all Routine Immunisation-providing frontline health workers have received the requisite training that will enable them administer this vaccine safely together alongside other vaccines. “UNICEF is also supporting the state in communicating to care givers the risk of meningitis and the importance of meningitis A vaccination.” (Dailytrust)


UNICEF condemns use of children as human bombs in Nigeria’s North-East

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday condemned the use of children as human bombs and in any combat or non-combat roles in the conflict in North-East Nigeria.

“According to several reports, three children – two girls and a boy (ages unknown) – were used to detonate explosives that killed 30 people and injured 40 others at a community football viewing centre in Konduga, Borno today. UNICEF sends its condolences to all those who have been killed or injured in this horrific incident.

“It is unacceptable that children should be used in this way,” UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said in a statement.

He further said: “UNICEF appeals to all those involved in this terrible conflict to protect children at all times and to keep them out of harm’s way.

“This incident brings the number of children who have been reported as having been used as human bombs to five, since January 2019. In 2018, 48 children - including 38 girls - were used in suicide attacks.

“We again call on all parties to the conflict in north-east Nigeria to immediately cease all attacks against civilians, to stop using children in this conflict, and to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

UNICEF launches campaign ‘For every child, every right’ on Nigerian Children’s Day

UNICEF  commemorated Nigerian Children’s Day, saying that it comes at a crucial moment for child rights in the country, and for child rights globally. They launched a campaign to draw awareness to children’s rights by all of Nigerian society.

“While there have been many advances over the last years, children in Nigeria are still not accessing health, nutrition, education and other rights to the extent that they must,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s new Country Representative in Nigeria, who took up his post today. “Sadly, it is the most disadvantaged children who are suffering the greatest challenge in having their rights fulfilled.”

Nigerian Children’s Day 2019 falls during the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is being commemorated this year around the world.

As part of the celebrations, UNICEF is launching a “Passport to Your Rights” – a copy of the CRC in child-friendly language, in pocket format. UNICEF aims that every child in Nigeria has a copy by 2030 – the deadline for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The CRC ‘passport’ will also be available in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin languages, helping to ensure access by millions of Nigerians.
 “Thirty years ago, something incredible happened. World leaders came together in a moment of unity for the world’s children. They made a promise to every child to protect and fulfil their rights, by adopting the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Conventon established childhood as a period that is separate from adulthood - a time in which children should grow, learn, play, develop and flourish,” said Peter Hawkins.

“We want to see every Nigerian child have that kind of a childhood,” said Peter Hawkins.
The Convention went on to become the most widely-ratified human rights treaty in history, with Nigeria ratifying it in 1991. It has helped to transform children’s lives; inspiring legislative changes to protect children and enabling them to participate actively in their societies.

“Today, more children than ever live healthy lives, are learning in school and have a voice in their communities. But much more needs to be done as children’s rights continue to be unfulfilled and threatened daily around the world and in Nigeria. There are still too many children being left behind, and too many childhoods cut short by violence, conflict, poverty and inequality,” said Peter Hawkins.
“On this Nigerian Children’s Day, we must look ahead to the future of childhood in this country, and re-commit to urgent, specific actions to protect the rights of every child - now, and in future generations.”

“Child rights will only be fully realised when every government and every citizen is aware of and upholds children’s rights, and every child can claim those rights. It is for this reason that we are launching a campaign ‘For every child, every right’ and will work closely with the government to ensure that all Nigerians are aware of the rights that all children have. This includes in particular children themselves.”

“Working together, we can seize this moment and make it a turning point for every child; I look forward to picking up this challenge, as the new UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins. 

Over 3,500 children recruited by armed groups in North East, says UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund, on Friday, said that over 3,500 children have been recruited by armed groups in the northeastern region of Nigeria since 2013.

UNICEF Nigeria said this on its verified Twitter handle, @UNICEF.

The international body went on to call for an end to the conflict that had rocked the North East for years.

  We are here to to file a suit on behalf of the APC challenging the results of the governorship election in Bauchi State held some weeks ago

UNICEF said, “Since 2013, more than 3,500 children have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in NE #Nigeria. We’re calling on all parties to the conflict to end violations against children.”
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