By G9ija

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Bauchi Staff Association COVID 19 charity outreach has distributed relief materials to about 300 vulnerable caregivers as part of efforts to alleviate their plights.

The reporters checks revealed that the 300 vulnerable caregivers comprise of pregnant and lactating mothers as well as elderly and disabled women.

Presenting the relief materials to the vulnerable groups at the Miri Primary Health Care Center in Bauchi on Wednesday, the Chairperson of the UNICEF Bauchi Staff Association, Mrs Margaret Gituwa, said the novel Coronavirus had imposed socio-economic hardship on families with the poor mostly affected, increasing the number of people who live in abject poverty.

She said mothers, especially pregnant and lactating women, are now faced with myraid of challenges, adding that the cost of living has gone high with increase in prices of food commodities, including staple foods like rice and maize.

According to her, “Some households are recorded to have experienced reduced income, loss of income and restrictions on income sources. These have resulted in households experiencing human rights abuses, violence and exploitation.

“Alleviating the impact of the COVID 19 crisis is therefore vital for preventing poverty from deepening and increasing in Nigeria. Before the COVID 19 pandemic outbreak, approximately 4 in 10 Nigerians were living below the national poverty line and millions more were living just above the poverty line, making them vulnerable to falling back into poverty when shocks occur.

“In response to the challenges highlighted above and to ensure action that will mitigate the risk, UNICEF Bauchi Association decided to assist mothers and caregivers who patronize Miri PHC with relief materials, comprising rice, vegetable cooking oil, salt, food seasoning and detergent. This is our own modest way of contributing to addressing the challenge thrown up by the pandemic,” she said

The Chairperson appreciated the gesture of public-spirited Nigerians who have been assisting vulnerable members since the outbreak of COVID 19, calling on more Nigerians who have the capacity to continue to extend similar palliatives, especially to women and children who are always at the receiving end of crises.

Two of the beneficiaries, Aisha Mohammed and Zuwaira Abdullahi, commended UNICEF for the gesture, saying that the distribution of relief materials will go a long way to alleviate their plights just as they also called on other Nigerians who are able to consider the conditions of vulnerable persons in their domains by giving them assistance where necessary.