Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Since the coming of the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) to Benue State, rural dwellers, especially women and children have had cause to smile again owing to the tremendous interventions of the international organisation in the area of ameliorating the plight of the people health-wise.
Locals who have benefitted from the organization’s interventions in the areas of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH), immunization, Primary Health Care (under one roof) have continued to give glowing testimonies of how those interventions have positively impacted on their lives.
Mrs. Oine Uloko, a native of Otobi in Otukpo Local Government area narrated how during her fifth pregnancy when it seemed she would not be able to make it to delivery, a Good Samaritan encouraged her to visit the primary healthcare facility in the area and she did.
“I received enough counseling, got tested for HIV/AIDS and after the result was out and I tested negative, I went through the ante natal care without any hitch and finally delivered my baby safely. Everything went on smoothly and easy for me and even now, my baby and I have been enjoying robust health, thanks to UNICEF.”
And like Uloko, Mrs. Philomena Ejeh, a young mother of one from the Oju Local Government Area said she has benefitted a lot from UNICEf’s interventions especially in all the rounds of immunization, counseling on maternal and child health, breastfeeding among other benefits.
Ejeh also opened her door for our correspondent to have a glimpse of her well-laid bed decked with a long lasting mosquitos treated net which she said was given to her free of charge at the health facility courtesy of UNICEF.
“When I first got pregnant, I was very sick with malaria and I almost lost the pregnancy because I was exposed to mosquitos bites. When I went to the clinic, I was treated and thereafter given a mosquito treated net and encouraged to use it. Since then, I started to use the net and till I delivered my baby, I never had malaria again. Now, I cannot sleep without the net. Thanks to UNICEF.”
It is therefore no doubts that the interventions of the United Nations Children’s Funds, UNICEF, across Benue state has continued to lift and excite the various benefiting rural dwellers and the leadership of the such communities alike.
This is even as the Benue State government has commended the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) for supporting the five rounds of immunization carried out in 2017 with a total of N112.154 million.
Executive Secretary, State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Bem Ageda who stated this in a chat with our correspondent recently explained that the funds was released by UNICEF for logistics support in the 23 local government areas of the state during each rounds of the National Immunisation Days and National Immunization Plus Days.
Ageda who disclosed that the state benefited the sum of N21.252 million for each of the five rounds of immunization in the state in the year under review said N20 million was for logistics while N1.2 was for social mobilisation.
“Of the amount, only N1.2 million is for social mobilization while N20 million is for logistics. We have had a total of about N112.154 million support by UNICEF in the outgoing year. That is a tremendous support and we appreciate that level of support.
“UNICEF has supported us extensively in the outgoing year. All the rounds of immunization we had beginning from January which was actually an outbreak response following the outbreak response in the north east that spilled over from 2016 to 2017. And since January, we had at least five rounds of immunization; National Immunization days and National Immunization Plus Days. We had in January, March, April, July and the last was in October.
“We had logistics support which in reality tends to go to our facilities in the 23 local government areas. They send funds to the local governments and a little support for the state like funds for fueling of our generators in the state’s cold room. So, in the last five rounds, we have had a total of N21.252 million support from UNICEF in each of the rounds.
“That is significant support as far as implementation of immunization is concerned. This has helped us extensively in funding the logistics at the local government in terms of the teams that go out to cover it, in terms of handling of wastes at that level and general logistics expenses at the local government facility level,” he said.
In the area of primary healthcare under one roof, Ageda also noted that the state has had a tremendous support from UNICEF especially in assisting to develop guidelines and minimum service package for the state as well as in the area of training health workers across the 23 local government areas of the state.
“We have also had extensive support because UNICEF supported us to develop our guidelines which is one of the pillars of primary healthcare under one roof. We have also developed a minimum service package which is also a pillar of primary healthcare under one roof.”
He also thanked UNICEF for supporting the state during the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) to engage civil society organizations and community based organizations to help in HIV training as well as HIV testing.