The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the eradication of polio in Nigeria amidst the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic is its greatest achievement in 2020.
Dr Zakari Adam, Head of UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office, made the assertion on Tuesday in Ilorin during the 2020 End of Year Review and Planning Meeting in Kwara.
He said the feat was achieved as a result of the joint effort of various institutions, commissions, plannings and partnerships with the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria.
The UNICEF boss, who oversees Kaduna, Kwara, Nasarawa and Niger states, said that the success was huge, adding that the humanitarian aid organisation would focus on how to record more achievements in 2021.
“The Year 2020 was not a waste, despite the lockdown; we recorded success in Nigeria as the country is now declared polio-free.
“Our focus now is to improve on the achievement come 2021,” he said.
Speaking on the ongoing meeting of the UNICEF and Kwara government officials, Adam said the meeting was to review the activities of the organisation in 2020 with a view to planning ahead of 2021.
“We are not here for a jamboree. We are coming together to review and plan for the next action.
“Children mostly are our target. We can see Kwara is more than ready to benefit more and support UNICEF.
“UNICEF is not discriminatory against any state, every state has an equal right to benefit from UNICEF’s programmes.
“Just get ready and let us save our children and society at large.
“We want to do more for our children in the area of Health, Nutrition, Education and other important aspects needed to be touched.
“It is everybody’s responsibility to join the train to save children,” the UNICEF chief said.
He, however, called on pregnant women to visit the hospital regularly for antenatal consultation and stop self-medication.
In her remark, Mrs Florence Oyeyemi, the Kwara Commissioner for Finance and Planning commended UNICEF for having the interest of people of Kwara at heart.
She assured the organisation of the state government’s continued cooperation and partnership to keep children in the state safe.
Oyeyemi declared that the era of nonpayment of counterpart fund by Kwara was over, saying Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq would be ready to venture into any programme that would benefit the people of Kwara.
“We are delighted to have you around again.
“You were here in Kwara a few months ago to train some of our officers on Result Based Monitoring and Evaluation (RBM), Harmonized Accounting Control Techniques (HACT), Vaccine Management Training, National Immunization plus Days and Measles Immunization Awareness Activities.
“We are improving and want more,” said the commissioner.
She encouraged participants at the meeting to ensure they explored the opportunity provided by the programme to acquire knowledge