At the 29th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES 29) in Abuja, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) emphasized the necessity for robust policy reforms aimed at prioritizing budgets tailored to the needs of children.

Addressing the summit, UNICEF’s country representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, highlighted the criticality of specific policies that ensure comprehensive healthcare for all children. Munduate emphasized that simply drafting policies is insufficient; the focus should be on actionable steps to reach the two million children lacking vaccines, illustrating the need for effective strategies to tackle the persisting issue of child healthcare.

Quoting alarming statistics, Munduate underscored Nigeria’s grave child mortality rate, ranking second-highest in West Africa. Additionally, nearly 75 million children, which accounts for four in every ten children in Nigeria, live below the poverty line.

Munduate presented distressing figures, revealing that a substantial 77 percent of Nigerian children under five lacked a birth certificate in 2016/17. Furthermore, one in three children remains out of school, totaling over 10 million at the primary level and eight million at the junior secondary level. Even among those enrolled, three out of four children struggle with basic literacy and mathematics.

The UNICEF representative shed light on the critical gaps in maternal healthcare, highlighting that approximately four million women annually give birth without support from skilled birth attendants. Moreover, over 2.4 million infants under the age of one have never received necessary vaccinations, signifying a concerning healthcare deficit among the youngest demographic