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UNICEF, NOA Task FG, Media On MICS-6 To End Violence Against Women, Children

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UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos Office, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor,

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has tasked journalists and other stakeholders to leverage on the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS-6) statistics in order to eradicate poverty and other social issues affecting women and children.

The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2021 MICS, however, ranked Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti states high on incidences of infant and child mortality, disclosing that between three and four children out of 10 die within one month of delivery in the states.

Speaking at the 2-day media dialogue which was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State Directorate, in conjunction with UNICEF, tagged: “2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS-6) for Journalists in Southwest Zone,” the UNICEF M4R Specialist, Mr. Oluwasola Olanipekun, gave an overview of the MICS-6 implications across Southwest region, revealing that 21 per cent of children in the region are delivered outside health facilities.

Olanipekun, who said the aforementioned contributed to child mortality, added that Ondo State has the highest child mortality in the region, recording 35 per cent of death between first and fifth birthday; and higher by 12 per cent than the Southwest average.

Amongst other indicators that required urgent attention, he noted that Osun State has the highest number of out-of-school children in the Southwest with an average rate of 13 per cent.

On early child marriage, Olanipekun also rated Ekiti State high, revealing that one out of 10 girls get married before age of 15 while three out of 10 boys get married before 18 years.

While the UNICEF Health Specialist, Dr. Ijeoma Agbo, appealed to the affected states to comply with the global requirement of one primary healthcare facility per ward and make them functional to curtail the ugly trend and further sustain the gains.

Dr. Agbo iterated need for conscientious awareness for expectant mothers to patronize health care facilities rather than faith-based clinics, which, according to her, is a major factor responsible for the high mortality rates.

The Health Specialist 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.

Tasking media practitioners on MICS-6 reporting, the UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos Office, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor, earlier, said the importance of data in reporting such health and social situations 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.

Ejiofor noted that UNICEF expects journalists to work on data-driven stories and reports that highlight major challenges faced by children and women in the society.

Similarly, the Director of National Orientation Agency, Lagos, Dr. Waheed Isola, tasked participants to report facts and figures as encapsulated in MICS-6 on matters affecting women and children.

They stressed that there is an urgent need for governments of the region to adopt all necessary strategies to strengthen their health systems towards reducing the high rate of infant and child mortality in the states.

CityMirrorNews reports that over 70 journalists and statisticians from different media organizations and states across the Southwest of Nigeria participated in the dialogue held at the Kakanfo Conference Centre, Ibadan Oyo State.

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