…Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti lead

Abdkareem Idris

The National Bureau of Statistics supported by United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, has described as worrisome, the increasing child mortality rate in Southwest.

According to the two bodies statistics obtained from the 2021 Multiple Cluster Survey (MICS) indicated that between three and four children die within one month of delivery in Ekiti, Ogun and Oyo.

This is just as the survey also revealed the prevalence of Child marriage in Ekiti State, a development UNCEF described as the highest in Southwest.

According to the UNICEF Chief Management for Result, Programme and Planning (M4R) specialist, Oluwasola Olanipekun, “one out of ten girls get married before age of fifteen and three out of ten boys get married before eighteen”.

All these came to fore during a two day media dialogue on the 2021 MULTIPLE INDICATOR CLUSTER SURYEY (MICS) organised by the United Nations International Children’s Fund UNICEF.

A Medical Health expert, Dr. Ijioma Agbo stated in order to reverse the dangerous trend child and infant mortality, there was the need for affected states to adopt the global requirement of one primary healthcare facility per ward and make them functional.

She observed that there is urgent need for governments of Ekiti, Ogun and Oyo to begin to adopt all necessary strategies to strengthen their health system towards reducing the high rate of Infant and child mortality.

Agbo, however stated that governments of these states have introduced various meaningful health programmes but added that much more still needed to be done to save the lives of new born babies.

She also called for improved awareness on the need for expectant mothers to patronize health care facilities rather than faith based clinics which is a major factor responsible for the high mortality rate.

Dr Agbo explained that though, Lagos State has the lowest rate of child mortality, there is the need for its government to also do more considering the population.

Over Seventy journalists drawn from different media organizations across the southwest of Nigeria are currently participating in the two day media dialogue which is taking place at the Kakanfo Conference Centre, Ibadan Oyo State.

The training is organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, Lagos Office in partnership with the National Orientation Agency NOA Lagos State.

Addressing the gathering earlier, the Communication
Officer, United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, Blessing Ejiofor, said the importance of data in reporting could not be over emphasized.

According to her, the objective of the workshop is to share with media the result of the most recent survey which would assist them to report and analyze the situation of children and women in South West Nigeria in an informed way that would be convincing to the public.

She noted that UNICEF expects journalist to work on data driven stories and reports that highlights challenges faced by children and women in the society.