Federal Government of Nigeria and UNICEF assess progress after three years of Country Programme
Abuja, 26 October - During the last two days, the Federal Government of Nigeria and UNICEF held the Mid-Term Review of the Country Programme of Cooperation for Nigerian Children and Women which covers the six-year period from 2002 to 2007.
This meeting was the final phase of a consultative and participatory process that has involved key partners, including government, community representatives, civil society, donors and UN agencies. It resulted in a fair assessment of the progress made, the constraints met and the challenges ahead. The review also recommended some changes to improve the programme in response to the present issues affecting children in Nigeria.
The review showed that progress was made in a number of areas:
The review, however, expressed concern about the decline of the health status of children, showed by an increased under-five mortality rate from 168/1000 live births in 1999 to 217/1000 live births in 2003 and an equally increased infant mortality rate. The poor quality of basic social services accounts for a low coverage of key interventions such as immunization, malaria control or Acute Respiratory Illnesses prevention and treatment.
In the field of education, recent data of the Ministry of Education/UNESCO show that in 2002 about 30% of the 6-to-11 year old children are not attending primary school.
HIV-Aids also remains a major problem with 2003 prevalence rate of 5%; an increasing number of children are being orphaned, having lost their parents to AIDS.
Child’s trafficking is still a sad reality in Nigeria and many children are exploited for labour.
Three important recommendations are emerging from the Review:
The main structure of the Programme remains unchanged. There are four major programmes: Survival and Early Child Care, Integrated Growth and Development, Protection and Participation, Planning and Communication. The Community Development Programme is now fully integrated in these four programmes and some adjustments have been also adopted in the structure of each programme.
For each programme, the review has determined a very precise and measurable set of objectives which will be assessed annually and at the end of the Country Programme in 2007.
This review afforded the Nigeria/UNICEF Country programme of Cooperation the opportunity to adjust its programme of intervention in order to further improve the situation of women and children in the country.