UNICEF Strategize with Anambra towards reducing number of people living below poverty

UNICEF Strategize with Anambra towards reducing number of people living below poverty

UNICEF Strategize with Anambra towards reducing number of people living below poverty

 ...commends Soludo's Free Antenatal, Education

By Uzo Ugwunze

United Nations children education fund (UNICEF) has decided to partner with the Anambra State government in strategizing and implementing Social Protection policy towards reducing the number of over 1.64million vulnerable persons living below poverty level in the state.

UNICEF revealed that although in the South Eastern Nigeria, Anambra State recorded the worst on certain indices that depicts poverty and vulnerability of the population the state through Governor Chukwuma Soludo's intervention policies should be commended for the free antenatal care and delivery for pregnant women and also free education for primary and Junior Secondary School children.

Speaking during the Stakeholders Engagement on Social Protection System Strengthening in Anambra State holding at Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu, Anambra State the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Ms Chiamaka Nnake said that the  workshop which will last from Monday 25th to 27th September was to review towards improvement the already existing Anambra State Social Protection policy(SPP) draft and Social register.

"We are here to engage Unicef specialists on Social Protection policy, to review, get their advice and technical input on the Anambra State SPP drafted early this year before we launch it by November 2023. 

"Also, Anambra State social register needs reviewing as we define what poverty actually means in Anambra State and from their lens review the current social register and expand it. It is a journey towards ensuring inclusiveness of every 'Onye' Anambra who should be carried along and not left behind for intervention and poverty alleviation," said Nnake.

According to Unicef Acting Field Officer representating, the Unicef Field Officer, Mrs Juliet Chiluwe, the National mixed survey of 2016 and 2021 reveals that Anambra state as the only state in the South East where Penta vaccine coverage declined between 2016 and 2021, Anambra has zero dose population, children yet to receive first dose of Penta vaccine are about 39,805. People with access to handwashing facilities are low. Children with access to education are below 70percent.In the South East, Out of school children is highest in Anambra. About 296000 children are yet to have their birth registered and documented. These are poverty and vulnerability indicators. But Soludo is now working assiduously to intervene in many areas and it is quite commendable".

Declaring the engagement event open, the Deputy Governor Onyeka Ibezim assured Unicef that Governor Soludo and the team of stakeholders are going to do everything to change the status quo within the next few months hence the reason for the workshop.

He said that the free education, free antenatal health care and delivery and many robust policies outlined and being implemented were to ensure that no Anambra person or resident was left behind towards actualizing a livable and prosperous Anambra State.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Economic planning, Ms Stephanie Keri-Uzor said that meaningful development will continue  to elude any nation that is lacking in concrete and workable social protection program that, safeguards  and offers reasonable guarantee to the basic human needs of individuals. 

"To neglect social protection is suicidal for any nation. Our innumerable and internecine social conflicts are steadily crippling our development plans and programmes no matter how lofty. It has consequently become most pertinent that we mobilize resources to deliver a realistic solution to the scourge".

"Social exclusion, poverty, lack of social amenities, poor sanitisation, rising wave of criminality, corruption, cultism, nepotism, low male enrollment  in schools, school dropout, unemployment/under-employment etc are our most devastating social challenges. These easily hamper all previous efforts at social protection.  Natural factors like flooding, erosion menace and landslides have further exacerbated the situation to a very great sublime". 

"The evolution of a social protection policy and social register is particularly significant for the State. Anambra State is notable for it's vast human capital endowment. It is our most treasured resource, which has continued to yield unending benefits to the State and the nation in general. An assured and surefooted action-plan for viable sustenance of our available human capital development is therefore, our surest bet for social protection.

We must rise from this  crucial meeting with   a firm commitment to preserve our social life from further decay. In essence therefore, we will jointly pursue a political-will that is devoted and ready to guarantee social security irrespective of time, place and cost imperatives. 

The Solution approach of the present administration is not a political mantra but a robust administrative  pattern with manifestly realizable  objectives in all sectors. It's visible qualitative improvements in  our road Infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, development partnership, social welfare, sanitation, sports and recreation, steady electricity supply, security, revenue generation among others, are all visible representative guarantees of a competent government policy amenable to social protection.

"The policy posture of Mr. Governor has considerably lessened our task. With his decisive work on complementary sectors, our role here is to focus precisely on issues of social protection, strategise with stakeholders for mutually acceptable means, adoption of appropriate enlightenment measures and finally, produce a sound policy framework that will sufficiently anchor and drive our uniquely fitted  social protection formula, with particular reference to the extant National Social Protection Policy". 

"Our most gainful takeaway is to ensure the closure of all social exclusion windows plaguing the State, and substantially guarantee that they remain closed," said Keri-uzor.

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