By; Alex Uangbaoje, Gusau.
Zamfara State Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday signed a Joint Annual Work Plan for 2017, worth 3.4 Billion Naira to cover Health, Nutrition, Education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sectors.
The work plan is meant to accelerate the realisation of the rights of all children and women to survival, development, protection and participation in the state.
This was made known in a statement signed by Mohammad Mohiuddin, UNICEF, Chief of Sokoto Zonal Office, in charge of Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto State.
According to the statement, Mohiuddin said, “Zamfara State Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are committed to working together in partnership to implement and achieve the results set out as UNICEF’s contribution in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and its Action Plan (2014 – 2017), as a contribution to the attainment of the State and by extension, the national development aspirations towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed development frameworks.
“The signed Work Plan 2017 is aimed at accelerating the realization of the rights of all children and women to survival, development, protection and participation.
“The sector work plans will specifically contribute towards achieving the following key objectives: (a) Improved access to and use of high-quality and high-impact Health, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene interventions by children and women; (b) Improved access to quality basic education by the most vulnerable boys and girls, and increased school retention, completion and achievement rates for all and (c) demand creation for services provided by the program sectors.
“In 2017, UNICEF extended its WASH program to 03 new LGAs of Bakura, Maru and Shinkafi in addition to exiting 03 LGAs of Birnin Magaji, Talata Mafara and Tsafe in line with UNICEF’s goal of increasing access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene.
“This year, UNICEF also introduced Cash Transfer Program to poor families in 03 LGAs of Bukkuyum, Maradun, Zurmi in Zamfara State aimed at bringing back huge number of “Out of School Children” to schools. Current Hard to Reach (HTR) project has been expanded to 100 additional settlements in 02 new LGAs- Bakura and Bungudu.
“This is in addition to the existing 150 settlements in 6 LGAs – Gusau, Tsafe, Kaura Namoda, Shinkafi, Talata Mafara and Maradun receiving basic comprehensive Maternal, Newborn and Child Health services from trained and motivated outreach teams.
“The status of socio-demographic and development indicator in the state needs to be improved where Infant Mortality Rate is 89/1,000, Under-five Mortality Rate is 210/1,000 (NDHS, 2013), 57.5% children are stunted (SS, 2015), 28.1% children underweight (SS, 2105) and exclusive breastfeeding for (0-5 months child) is only 10.3% (SMART survey, 2014). Ante natal care provided by skilled personnel is only 30.2% (SS, 2015), while assistance during delivery by skilled personnel is 11.6% (SS, 2015). For education, out of school children at primary level accounts for 69% (OOSC Study 2012), net attendance ratio at primary level is 35.2% (NEDS, 2015).
“Under Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, only 35.6% of the state population has access to improved water source, 7.5% have access to non-shared improved sanitation facility and 4.1% use soap for hand washing (NDHS, 2013).
“The socio-demographic factors above are unacceptable as there exists proven interventions to address the challenges in each Sector. What is required is a strong government political commitment with more budget allocation, timely release of committed counterpart funds and collaboration with development partners towards implementing activities outlined in the work plan.
“The 2017 Annual Work Plan (AWP), which was jointly developed by the State and UNICEF offers a huge opportunity in improving the indicators provided all parties fulfil their commitments in the work plan.
“Total Contribution in 2017 AWP: Zamfara State N 1,317,267,137 (74% increase from 2016) and UNICEF N 2,113,135,078 (35% increase from 2016).”