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12% of Nigerian children don’t survive upto 5 years due to poor health investment, others – Report

A recent assessment of Nigeria’s performance on Human Capital Development (HCD) shows that 12 percent of Nigerian children do not survive up to 5 years due to poor investment in health care, education among others.

The assessment which was conducted by the World Bank shows that Nigeria recorded a Human Capital Index (HCI) score of 0.36 point in 2020. Health experts and Stakeholders, while expressing concerns, said the score means that only 88 children out of 100 born in Nigeria survive to up to 5 years.

HCI is a measure of how much human capital a child born today expects to acquire by age 18, while HCD is the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate throughout their lives, enabling them to realize their potential as productive members of society.

Gafar Alawode, program director, Development Governance International (DGI) Consult while analysing Nigeria’s HCI performance, said the score of 0.36 also means that a child born in Nigeria today will be 36 percent as productive compared to if they enjoyed complete education and full health.

He said this at a one day media Orientation Parley with the theme “Catalyzing the Media as Partners for Human Capital Development in Nigeria” organized by Human Capital Development Network (HCDN) in collaboration with the Lafiya programme recently in Abuja.

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Alawode, explained that though the country’s score improved by 0.02 compared to 2018 when the country rated 152 out of 157 with HCI score of 0.34, its performance was still abysmal and worrisome.

He noted that some poorer countries in the sub-Saharan Africa performed better than Nigeria, despite its vast natural resources stressing that advancing HCD requires investing in people through nutrition, health care, quality education, jobs and skills.

To this end, the HCDN in a statement issued at the end of the media parley called on government to as a matter of urgency and national importance, increase investments across the health and education sectors evidenced by timely release of budgetary allocations, full release and cash backing of appropriated sums and effective utilization of such funds.

The statement was signed by Gafar Alawode of DGI Consult; Juliana Aribo-Abude, Legislative Advocacy Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL); and Aanu Rotimi, Centre for Accountability and Inclusive Development (CAAID), the conveners of the Network.

The Network also wants the federal government through the Human Capital Development Core Working Group under the National Economic Council to fast track the process of engagement with the tiers of government to further engender HCD as a development policy objective.

HCDN also called on government at all levels should see the current security challenge ravaging all parts of the country as a consequence of under-investment in the human capital of the citizenry and therefore consider HCD investment as a potent intervention towards accelerated growth, shared prosperity, enhanced productivity of the citizenry and enduring peace.

It further recommended that the government should ensure greater transparency and accountability in social investment especially for health and education expenditures; foster citizen participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of HCD interventions to enhance ownership of such interventions at the grassroots.

“We call on the three arms of government at both Federal and State levels to engender HCD as policy objectives for national progress and deploy available resources towards design and implementation of policy thrust articulated in the Nigeria’s HCD vision document.

“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum should ensure the state Governors include HCD on their priority agenda, follow-up on implementation and encourage knowledge sharing amongst the governors”, the network urged.

HCDN is a network of development practitioners, Civil Society Organizations, and media with membership drawn from the 36 states and FCT was established to advance the cause of HCD in Nigeria through advocacy and accountability

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