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Sokoto, UNICEF sign N2bn pact to boost 2016 Work Plan on health, education, others

Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal
Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal
The Sokoto State Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have signed a N2 billion agreement that will accelerate the implementation of the 2016 Work Plan in areas of health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene.
According to a statement issued by Malam Imam Imam, the media aide to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the work plan is aimed at accelerating the realisation of the rights of all “children and women to survival, development, protection and participation.”
Under the agreement signed by the governor and UNICEF’s Chief of Field for Sokoto, Mr. Mohammad Mohiuddin, the state government is to contribute the sum of N1,083,384,750, while UNICEF will provide the sum of N1,006,865,500.
The key objectives of the agreement, Mohiuddin pointed out include improved access to, and use of high quality and high impact health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions for women and children; improving access to quality basic education by the most vulnerable boys and girls, as well as increased school retention, completion and achievement rates for all. Both parties agreed that the status of the socio-demographic and development indicators carried out in Sokoto between 2013 and 2015 need to be improved upon.
He said: “At the moment, both infant mortality and under-five mortality rates are high (89/1000 and 185/1000 respectively). However, 55.3 per cent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition; 35 per cent of under-five children are underweight, 10.3 per cent of under-five children are wasted, while exclusive breastfeeding for children 0-5months is only 10.3 per cent.
“In education, out-ofschool children accounts for 66.83 per cent of total school going children, net attendance ratio at primary level is 39.8 per cent for boys and 24.6 per cent for girls, while gender parity index for primary level is 0.55.”
The UNICEF chief said while there are proven interventions already on ground to address the challenges, what is required now is a strong government’s will and political commitment, release of financial resources and collaboration with development partners towards implementation of the work plan.

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