World Children's Day - Too many children are being left behind says UNICEF
Kingsley Mba, November 20, 2018
School Children in Kano state used to illustrate the story
Today is the International World Children's Day, a day set aside to celebrate children and also look at global agenda towards helping them to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
The United Nation International Children Emergency Fund(UNICEF) as a body committed to creating an enabling environment and opportunities for all children to live and thrive today called on global leaders to commit to doing more to fulfil children’s rights, as the world marked International World Children’s Day.
UNICEF country Representative, Mohamed Fall in statement which was made available to journalists said too many children are being left behind and there is need to reach them
The call was made with a glabal request asking individuals to sign a global online petition https://www.unicef.org/world-childrens-day?utm_campaign=wcd&utm_medium=unicef-network&utm, asking for children to be put back on the agenda.
Looking at the current indicators concerning children in Nigeria, despite the various intervention pprogrammes like the WASH, CMAM, Every Child in School programmes by UNICEF and the Nigeria government , the burden is still quite enormous.
About 10.5 million Nigeria children are currently out of school placing nigeria as the second largest contributor only behind India. School enrollment is still abysmally poor especial in the northern nigeria. This is fueled by some socio-cultural beliefs and practices with early marriage at the basement, where girls as young as 12 years old are married off.
Malnutrition is another serious issue facing nigeria children with over 2.6 million being acute malnourished and in dire need of help. UNICEF through the Community Based Management of Acute Malnutrition programme which was piloted in Gombe and Kebbi states in 2009 has been able to save over 200,000 lives.
Also through the WASH(Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene has helped to reduce under five deaths.
“We want to build a world where every child is in school, safe from harm and can fulfil their potential – and nowhere is this more true than in Nigeria,” said Fall
“A lot has been achieved – but there is still much to do to ensure that Nigerian children benefit from advances in child rights. At the moment, too many children are being left behind, and we need to reach them.”
Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out-of-school children, and one of its highest rates of maternal, child and infant mortality. More than four million children are unimmunized and tens of millions of Nigerians still do not have access to clean water and proper sanitation, putting children’s health at risk, Mr Fall stated
Nigeria’s burden of stunted growth among children is the second highest in the world, with 16.5 million affected, and the burden of severe acute malnutrition is high, with an estimated 2.6 million children severely acutely malnourished.
"No matter where a child is born – whether into wealth or poverty – they and their parents have the same hopes and dreams for their future. And we owe it to all children to give them a fair chance to survive and fulfil those dreams,” said Mohamed Fall.
“In partnership with the Nigerian Government, we are determined to ensure that stronger investment will yield progress for all children in education, health – including ensuring routine immunization for all, nutrition and child protection.”
Nigerian children experience a wide range of abuses and harmful practices. An estimated 3 in 5 children have suffered one or more forms of violence before reaching 18, with over 70 per cent experiencing multiple incidents of violence.
“This World Children’s Day, we must recommit to children – knowing that for Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we must invest in long-lasting institutional and community-based systems and policies for children’s survival, growth and development,” said Mohamed Fall.
“Nigerian children have a huge role to play in the country’s national development. It is the generation of children growing up today who will take their place as Nigeria’s leaders tomorrow – and who will be able to take further – to really accelerate – the progress we make now.”