Kebbi Government with support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union has begun the process of implementing primary healthcare under one roof.
The Executive Secretary of the state Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), Dr Abubakar Kaoje, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.
“We have gotten the approval from the state Executive Council and we are working assiduously to make it happen.
“We have already established Local Government Health Authorities and begun migrating staffs to the SPHCDA in line with the stipulated guidelines.
“We have equally began renovation and upgrading of 225 Primary Healthcare Centres, one per political wards out of the over 800 primari health centres in the state,” he said.
The executive secretary added that UNICEF was supporting the renovation and equipping of 140 out of the 225 PHCs.
“Yes, there are challenges here and there, but with UNICEF and EU support, we are doing the best we can to ensure that we make it happen,” he said.
UNICEF Project Coordinator in the state, Dr AbdulHafiz Ishawo, described the development as the outcome of a sustained advocacy efforts of development partners driven by UNICEF.
Ishawo said that UNICEF and European Union were supporting the state to take stock of the status of all PHCs in the state, determine what they are doing and the existing gaps.
“This is being done under the Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) project, being supported by European Union and UNICEF,” he said.
“The project also hope to increase the proportion of poor, marginalised, rural women and children under-five years with increased access to, and effective utilisation of high impact health and nutrition interventions.
“The project was also designed to strengthen coordination, policy and institutional framework to scale up, sustain and replicate the MNCHN interventions,” Ishawo said.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
UNICEF condemns killing of children in DR Congo
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Saturday denounced an attack that killed 16 people, including five girls under the age of 15, in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this attack on innocent children,” said the UNICEF representative in the DRC, Edouard Beigbeder.
The victims were all formerly displaced persons who had returned to the village. After the gunfire and knife attack, dozens have fled to seek shelter in neighboring villages, UNICEF said.
Since the beginning of the year, ongoing violence in Ituri province has taken the lives of more than 300 people.
More than 200,000 individuals, mostly children, have fled intensifying violence in Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu areas in Ituri province, seeking shelter in host communities and extremely overcrowded displacement sites in and around Bunia.
Last month, the UN specialized agency warned of the quickly deteriorating security situation there and urged the DRC government and international community to act urgently to avert a crisis that would forcibly uproot and endanger even more children.
“We call on all parties to respect the rights of women and children,” said the UNICEF representative.
UNICEF airlifts new batch of medical supplies to Yemen’s Aden
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) airlifted on Saturday a new batch of medical supplies to Yemen’s southern port city of Aden to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the war-ravaged Arab country, a government official told Xinhua.
“A plane loaded with medical supplies provided by the UNICEF landed at Aden’s International Airport,” a local government official said on condition of anonymity.
“The medical supplies are very essential to help the medical teams and curb the spread of coronavirus in Aden as well as other neighboring southern provinces,” the source said.
The UNICEF confirmed in a brief statement that it provided a new batch of medical supplies including personal protective equipment items to Aden.
“We received around 16 tons of essential medicines as well as protection and safety supplies all provided by the UNICEF to confront the coronavirus in the government-controlled provinces,” Ishraq said.
She said that the new batch of medical supplies came after great efforts exerted by the country’s government represented by Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik.
On Friday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen’s government-controlled provinces increased to 469 with 111 deaths and 23 recoveries since the outbreak of the deadly respiratory disease on April 10.
The Yemeni government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.
BiH, UNICEF organize online workshops for teachers during COVID-19 lockdown
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) education authorities, along with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) BiH, have organized 20 online workshops for elementary school and high school teachers during the COVID-19 lockdown, UNICEF BiH said in a press statement on Monday.
According to UNICEF BiH, over 4,000 education professionals from BiH and its neighboring countries participated in workshops from April till June. Teachers used the opportunity to learn new digital skills to improve their online teaching practice, it noted.
Educational institutions in BiH have introduced teaching via online platforms so that school shutdowns did not stop learning, the UNICEF BiH said.
“This pandemic opened windows of opportunity for innovations in the education system and introduction of digital content, during and after the pandemic. The quality of education is dependent on the quality of teaching, and it is crucial to support teachers to develop their professional skills to adapt to the new environment,” said Dr. Rownak Khan, UNICEF representative in BiH.
According to the Ministry of Education of Canton Sarajevo, the school year in elementary and high-schools ends on June 9.
Since the epidemiological situation improves significantly, it is expected that children will be back in schools on Sept. 2 when the next school year begins.
AU, UNICEF condemn killing of health workers in Somalia
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) on Sunday in separate statements condemned the abduction and deliberate killing of seven health workers and a civilian at a local health center in southern Somalia.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director said these heinous attacks interfere with fundamental protections of the right to health and the perpetrators must be held accountable.
“These health workers were heroes, putting their safety on the line every day to provide lifesaving care to children and families. We will hold their dedication and sacrifice in our hearts as we continue our work to reach vulnerable children across the country,” Fore said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.
“I am shocked by the senseless killings of civilians. Deliberate attacks against health professionals and facilities are a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law and constitute a war crime in non-international armed conflicts,” said Madeira.
He said the health workers are putting their lives on the line to save others in very difficult circumstances.
No arrest has so far been made and no group has claimed responsibility for the murder.
UNICEF dispatches medical shipment to Yemen’s Sanaa to confront COVID-19
Yemen’s health authorities controlled by the Houthi militia Sunday confirmed the arrival of a medical shipment dispatched by the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the war-ravaged country.
“A UNICEF‘s plane loaded with essential medical supplies to respond to COVID-19 landed at Sanaa Airport on Saturday and our teams will supervise distribution to the hospitals,” one official of the Houthi-controlled Health Ministry in Sanaa told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
According to a brief statement released by the UN, “a UNICEF chartered plane landed at Sanaa airport on Saturday with lifesaving supplies to help curb the spread of the disease in the conflict-hit country.”
It said that the supplies are a range of medical assistance, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items such as aprons, boots, face masks and gloves for frontline health workers.
It added that the PPE items will help at least 1,600 health workers in primary health centres, hospitals and isolation units across Yemen to provide safe primary health care and nutrition services for a period of three months.
“These supplies will allow our courageous partners the health workers, who are working around the clock, to safely and more effectively address the spread of COVID-19,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.
The UN agency noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 has created an emergency within an emergency in Yemen where only half of health facilities are functional and with almost every child in Yemen (over 12 million in total) already in need of humanitarian assistance, including nearly half a million suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Yemen’s Health Ministry on Saturday confirmed 27 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally of infections to 310 with 77 deaths in the country’s provinces controlled by the government.
The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.
Cameroon receives COVID-19 related donation from UNICEF ahead of school reopening
“This donation goes to more than 8,000 schools in six regions. It composes principally of buckets equipped with taps for the storage of water and other sanitary materials. We want to facilitate the back-to-school campaign,” Jacques Boyer, UNICEF Resident Representative in Cameroon told reporters while handing over the donation in the capital Yaounde.
Students in their final year will resume classes on Monday in Cameroon after schools were suspended since March 18 due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
“This donation is very timely indeed. We can only thank UNICEF very much. Schools are resuming on Monday and the key message is that everybody should send their children to school,” Pauline Nalova Lyonga, Cameroon‘s Minister of Secondary Education said.
Cameroon has reported more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases since the detection of the first case on March 6.
Mozambique receives medical supplies from EU, UNICEF to fight COVID-19
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations International Children‘s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) delivered 11 tons of medical supplies to Mozambique on Friday to help the southeast African country fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The supplies, including some 145,000 masks, 30,000 overalls, 192 non-contact thermometers and 600 goggles, were received by Mozambique’s Health Minister Armindo Tiago in Maputo.
“The EU is confident that these supplies will help the doctors, paramedics and nurses to stay safe whilst they continue providing an effective and operational response,” said Antonio Sanchez-Benedito Gaspar, the EU‘s ambassador to Mozambique, at the delivery ceremony.
The supplies came at a moment when the country’s health authorities recognize that there are challenges in providing sufficient personal protective equipment especially for their medical workers.
“The safety of Mozambican health professionals during the response to COVID-19 is of extreme importance. Those brave men and women, tirelessly committing themselves with personal sacrifice to the fight against the pandemic amid huge risk, deserve the best possible protection,” said Tiago.
As of Friday, Mozambique has a total of 234 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including two deaths and 84 recoveries.
UNICEF donates ventilators to healthcare institutions in North Macedonia
United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) office in North Macedonia donated the first seven out of 10 ventilators to health care institutions in the country to assist in the fight against COVID-19, UNICEF said in a press release on Friday.
Present at the donation ceremony, Health Minister Venko Filipce praised the support of UNICEF, noting that the donation is truly significant for the country’s health care system.
Filipce said that the ventilators will be distributed to intensive care units, where patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are treated.
In her remarks, UNICEF representative Patrizia Di Giovanni declared that now more than ever they see the importance of strengthening health systems.
“Only by working together can we ensure that every child is healthy, safe and learning, no matter what challenges countries face,” she said.
Valued at over 215,000 U.S. dollars, the ventilators are both for invasive and non-invasive therapy and can be used to treat both children and adults, UNICEF stated.
COVID-19 to put 86 mln more children into household poverty by yearend: UNICEF
The economic fallout of COVID-19 could push up to 86 million more children into household poverty by the end of 2020, an increase of 15 percent, according to a new analysis released on Thursday by the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children.
Without urgent action to protect families from the financial hardships caused by the pandemic, the total number of children living below the national poverty line in low- and middle-income countries could reach 672 million by yearend, said UNICEF in a press release.
Nearly two-thirds of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Countries across Europe and Central Asia could see the most significant increase, up to 44 percent across the region. Latin America and the Caribbean could see a 22-percent increase, said UNICEF.
“The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unprecedented socio-economic crisis that is draining resources for families all over the world,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director. “The scale and depth of financial hardship among families threatens to roll back years of progress in reducing child poverty and to leave children deprived of essential services. Without concerted action, families barely getting by could be pushed into poverty, and the poorest families could face levels of deprivation that have not been seen for decades.”
The impact of the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic and related containment policies is two-fold. Immediate loss of income means families are less able to afford the basics, less likely to access health care or education, and more at risk of child marriage, violence, exploitation and abuse. For the poorest families, lack of access to social care services or compensatory measures further limits their ability to abide by containment and physical distancing measures, and thus further increases their exposure to infection, said UNICEF.
For children living in countries already affected by conflict and violence, the impact of COVID-19 will further increase the risk of instability and of households falling into poverty, it warned.
To address and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on children in poor households, Save the Children and UNICEF call for rapid and large-scale expansion of social protection systems and programs, including cash transfers, school feeding and child benefits.
Governments must also invest in other forms of social protection, fiscal policies, employment and labor market interventions to support families. This includes expanding universal access to quality health care and other services, and investing in family-friendly policies, such as paid leave and childcare, said the two organizations.
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