On National Children’s Day, UNICEF commends Nigeria for National Health Act
Abuja, 27 May 2011 - As Nigeria celebrates its Children’s Day, UNICEF commends the National Assembly for passing the National Health Bill into law and looks forward to a quick assent by the President of the Republic to make it immediately implementable across the national territory. The National Health Act is the best gift to Nigerian children as they celebrate their day.
The health status of children and women in Nigeria remain poor but we believe that with careful implementation of the National Health Act, along with sufficient funding for and close monitoring of the National Strategic Health Strategic Development Plan, Nigeria will take firm steps to reverse this trend.
We expect the National Health Act to translate into the release of much needed funding from national revenues for the health of children and women. Its focus on an essential minimum package of care to tackle the health problems which cause the highest number of death and illness in children and women is highly commendable.
Scaling up the implementation of an essential package of proven, cost-effective and high-impact interventions in all primary health centres will bring Nigeria closer to attaining the health related MDGs, said Dr. Suomi Sakai, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. In doing so, we encourage the Government and its partners to leave no child behind, as this momentum is really about securing quality primary health care with equity - for every woman and every child, she said.
The theme for this year’s Children’s Day celebration, ‘Good governance: impact on the Nigerian child’ underscores the critical role of good governance in realizing the full spectrum of children’s rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Nigeria’s Child Rights Act of 2003. Good governance should equal child-friendly governance and ensure that every child is counted and visible in the state budget.
There is evidence to show that health care interventions often benefit only a small chunk of the population while marginalizing the poorest and hardest to reach. However, good governance should not just be for the few. It is our common plight to ensure, tirelessly, that all children have access to basic social services. We look forward to keep working with the Government and its partners to make Nigeria’s new Health Act work for all children in the country, irrespective of origin, creed, economic status, disability and gender, said Dr. Suomi Sakai.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
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